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lexicon-scape : tlön, uqbar, orbis tertius
23 April 2011

lexicon-scape : 
tlön, uqbar, orbis tertius

is fallaciously called

a vast polemic

the heresiarchs of uqbar

i conjectured that

fortified my doubt

the visible universe was an illusion or (more precisely) a sophism

the scrupulous cartographical indices

he suffered from unreality

his tired rectangular beard had once been red

engage in taciturn chess games

the duodecimal system of numbering (in which twelve is written as 10)

these subordinate sleuthing procedures

the many and weighty tomes

a perfect synonym of the cosmos

a dialectical game

a kind of reductio ad absurdum

a very daring hypothesis

the complete victory of this idealist pantheism

one of its modest demiurgi was herbert ashe

i perceived then something of its premonitory character

covered with hard heraldic fauna

the perceptible and tenuous tremor of a sleeping bird

the proprietor's rudimentary hospitality

intermingled inextricable insults

a scattered dynasty of solitary men

i am reading borges at the moment, and taking my time about it. the list above is a collection not dissimilar to previous lexicon-scapes - meatier and spicier. i intend to write about my fascination with tlön, uqbar, orbis tertius in more detail and at a later point, whereas here and now i want to look at the evolution of the lexicon-scape.

lexicon-scape is in flux - while making these word lists i have found it invariably enlightening, promoting a mode of questioning of the text you present yourself. i have begun expanding the focus of this exercise by looking at word patterns and descriptive formats alongside my current interest in individual words. there are some motives for this shift -

d e f i n i t i o n   m i n i n g 
the context of a word almost always implies the word's meaning, exclusively from the etymology of that word.

l y r i c a l   r h y t h m s
"man in his movement modifies the forms which surround him"  |  page 37  |  inter-lyrical tools and literary expression are mostly hidden when focusing on one word. i want this lexicon-scape exercise to work harder.

i have been swooning over the phonetics of these singular words, sometimes over an exotic sound they produce, over a unique way they instruct your mouth [like a reverse conductor], or leaving the physical world; the associations these words recklessly conjure in our mind. the translation process entwines fluidly from printed word to every neuro-psycho-sense of the body e.g. memories and assimilations of smell and intrigue, light and texture, pain and all sorts of emotional trauma. now looking at a broader set of words and authors' intent i feel some richer engagement with the poetry of the text can be read.

a r t i s t i c   a r t i c u l a t i o n
"buckley was a freethinker, a fatalist and a defender of slavery"  | page 40  |  this uneasy triptych of attributes is so deliberate in its expressed, evocative juxtapositions; is this an art of adjacency?

some of these words are used by authors, for me, in unexpected ways. and for someone who is as intimidated by english language as i have been this is a welcoming, revolutionary idea - you can make the language work for you! you can bend and break perceived axioms of a language in favour of telling a story, appropriate to the story. language becomes an artistic exploration rather than a rigid, rule-based exercise.

d e s c r i p t i v e   d e n s i t i e s
jorges luis borges was able to pack and unpack, layer and criss-cross prose. a personal, exciting thing is that i have encountered no other writer's work that paces me like the stories contained within labyrinths.

notable moments in this story

"mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number of men" 
page 27

"we discovered beneath its rigorous prose a fundamental vagueness"
page 28

"and all of it articulated, coherent, with no visible doctrinal intent or tone of parody"
page 31

"an infinite leibniz labouring away darkly and modestly" 
page 32

"the world for them is not a concourse of objects in space; it is a heterogeneous series of independent acts. it is successive and temporal, not spatial" 
page 32

"the sun and the water on the swimmer's chest, the vague tremulous rose colour we see with our eyes closed, the sensation of being carried along by a river and also by sleep" 
page 33

"another school declares that all time has already transpired and that our life is only the crepuscular and no doubt falsified and mutilated memory or reflection of an irrecoverable process"
page 34

"all men, in the vertiginous moment of coitus, are the same man. all men who repeat a line from shakespeare are william shakespeare"
page 36

"the concept of plagiarism does not exist :  it has been established that all works are the creation of one author, who is atemporal and anonymous. the critics often invent authors :  they select two dissimilar works - the tao te ching and the 1001 nights, say - attribute them to the same writer and then determine most scrupulously the psychology of this interesting homme de lettres"
page 37

"a book which does not contain its counterbook is considered incomplete"
page 37

"such was the intrusion of this fantastic world into the world of reality"
page 41

"this sensation of a very small and at the same time extremely heavy object produced a disagreeable impression of repugnance and fear"
page 41

*page numbers are references in the penguin modern classics edition of jorges luis borges book labyrinths

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