Borges and Plato: A Game with Shifting Mirrors. by Shlomy Mualem

By Shlomy Mualem

This comparative procedure indicates how the Platonic perspective sheds new mild on Borges' essayistic and fictional paintings. Analyses to which volume his inspiration is deeply rooted in classical philosophical doctrines.

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Extra resources for Borges and Plato: A Game with Shifting Mirrors.

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Perhaps it is precisely this ambivalent and complex approach that led Borges to interweave logos and mythos in his work in order to produce, through their brisk synergy, greater affect on the reader. It was shown in the former section that one of the most prominent traits of Plato’s writing is the interplay of logos and mythos, a tendency that reaches its apex in the literary invention of the philosophical myth. 40 Parallel to Plato’s hybrid genre, the philosophical myth, Borges interweaves logos and mythos, argumentations and pictures, dreams and reasoning, in two specific genres: the fictional essay in his prose and the intellectual poem in his verse.

He is ecstatically dominated by divine inspiration, having no reflective awareness of what he says. It is only the philosopher who directly observes the Truth and possesses real knowledge (episte¯me¯), and who consequently deserves 24 I write ‘Truth’ in capital letter, here and henceforth, in order to denote metaphysical validity rather than empirical facts. ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ ✐ “Mualem” — 2011/12/7 — 8:06 — page 30 — #30 ✐ 30 ✐   : MYTHOS  LOGOS to be the king of the ideal state (Republic VII, X).

Mualem” — 2011/12/7 — 8:06 — page 37 — #37 ✐   :      ✐ 37 and in the stories “The Aleph” (1949), “The Sect of the Phoenix” (1944), “Two kings and Two Labyrinths” (1960), and “A Theologian in Death” (1935). A marvelous illustration of the abyssal gap between logos and reality is given in the witty parable “On Exactitude in Science” (1960): …In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a city, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province.

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