Borges: Influence and References

Georges Perec

From: Joseph Meehan, joseph@maxwell.ucd.ie

Georges Perec, towards the very beginning of his own labyrinthine La Vie: Un Mode d'Emploi (which, because my French isn't up to it, I had to read as Life: A Users Manual) recounts the tale that Borges also tells of the Moorish king who opens a sealed palace guarded by an army of plaster soldiers to discover an inscription telling him that any king with the temerity to break the sacred rules and open the seals to read the inscription is doomed. (I'm sorry if I got that wrong, my memory isn't perfect.) In the list of sources at the end of the book, after the wonderful index, Perec lists Borges, as well as Joyce and Kafka, himself, and many others.

From: Christos Tsatsoulis, ctsats@hotmail.com

Borges' name appears at least four times at Perec's Especes d'espaces (1974), together with references to an "Aleph" and Borges' short stories, "The Library of Babel" and "The Immortal." Moreover, there is an (unpublished until his death) short story by Perec, "Le Voyage d' hiver," where a scholar discovers a book (Le Voyage d'hiver) written by a French poet completely unknown to him, one Hugo Vernier. To his surprise, he finds it contains fragments of the most famous French poets (Rimbaud included) -- and yet the book predates them by decades. He is ready to undertake some further research, but WWII interrupts his plans. When the war ends, he returns to Paris and resumes his research, but he is never again able to find a copy of this book -- until the end of his life. A classic Borgesian theme...

Additional Information

Perec Scriptorium Page -- The Libyrinth runs a page about Perec at the Scriptorium.

Perec Bookstore -- Here you may order books by and about Perec from Amazon.com.


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