Monday, February 12, 2007

Clive James on ...

... Jorge Luis Borges: Can a great writer be blind to the world around him? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If we're going to question Borges's politics, we ought to question Gabriel Garcia Marquez about his fondness for Castro. And let's not forget Neruda's ode to that wonderful guy Stalin. Borges may not have protested the junta, but he didn't praise it, either.


  1. Too often, and sometimes unfairly, we do not separate the work from the person. Just because someone may be a well-known writer, it does not mean that s/he must also take on the role of the voice of the people.

    I have a fondness for Latin authors, in particular Borges and Neruda, but their politics would never stop me from praising their work.

  2. I'm with you, Marydell. As D.H. Lawrence put it, "trust the story, not the storyteller." I'm not a Neruda fan myself (irrespective of his politics). The Chilean writer I love is Gabriela Mistral.

  3. And in a similar vein, why do we trust, as a culture, celebrity endorsements of politicians, products, causes, etc.? Are celebrities deeper thinkers than the rest of us? Does, say, a fine actor have more empathy and insight than Mother Teresa? Ghandi? MLK?

  4. Jim, I could not agree more!