Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: The Entertainment and the Zahir
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:53 pm 
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Location: Maine, USA
"The persons' lives' meanings had collapsed to such a narrow focus that no other activity or connection could hold their attention." pp. 549

I don't know about anyone else, but the above quote immediately reminded me of Borges' story "The Zahir," and I'm not sure why the connection didn't stand out to me before. As far as Borges' descriptions go, it would be perfectly legitimate for the Zahir to manifest as a film. The effect of the Entertainment, though more fast-acting, is nearly identical to Borges' Zahir: "I will no longer perceive the universe, I will perceive the Zahir...Others will dream that I am mad, while I dream of the Zahir."


"Anything that is not the Zahir comes to me as though through a filter, and from a distance--Teodelina's disdainful image, physical pain. Tennyson said that if we could but understand a single flower we might know who we are and what the world is. Perhaps he was trying to say that there is nothing, however humble, that does not imply the history of the world and its infinite concatenation of causes and effects. Perhaps he was trying to say that the visible world can be seen entire in every image, just as Schopenhauer tells us that the Will expresses itself entire in every man and woman. The Kabbalists believed that man is a microcosm, a symbolic mirror of the universe; if one were to believe Tennyson, everything would be--everything, even the unbearable Zahir."
-Jorge Luis Borges


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 Post subject: Re: The Entertainment and the Zahir
PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:52 pm
Posts: 41
Good thought. I have no doubt that the Zahir was something DFW had in mind--he was an admirer of Borges (then again, who isn't? I mean really: have you ever met anyone who didn't like his stories?) Actually, DFW wrote a really good review of a Borges bio for the NY Times. I'll stick the link below.


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/07/books ... LLACE.html


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