Borges: macho, gaucho, skinny

by nike, July 7, 2010

If Borges had had his way – and he generally did – all polysyllables would have been replaced by monosyllables, especially in the third and fourth revisions, to which he often pressed his absent collaborators. People concerned about the legitimacy of the literal might well be scandalized by his mania for dehispanization.

EH: He was using you as writing hands…

BB: “Simplify me. Modify me. Make me stark. My language often embarrasses me. It’s too youthful, too Latinate. I love Anglo-Saxon. I want the wiry, minimal sound. I want the power of Cynewulf, Beowulf, Bede. Make me macho and gaucho and skinny.”

(Ben Belitt in conversation with Edwin Honig. from The Poet’s Other Voice: Conversations on Literary Translation, edited by Edwin Honig, University of Massachussetts Press, 1985: 62)

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