Readersforum's Blog

January 5, 2013

Will Self reads ‘On Exactitude in Science’ by Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges’s combination of the anecdotal, philosophical and the literary showed Will Self how to achieve the ‘truly veridical’. He gets his coordinates from ‘On Exactitude in Science’

Presented by Lisa Allardice and produced by Tim Maby

Borges’s short stories were what showed me the way: how, with exquisite legerdemain, to fuse the literary, the philosophic and the anecdotal. The brevity of “On Exactitude in Science” isn’t really the point – or, rather, it’s the entire point: this is a story that is itself a homologue of that which it describes, being a map of a reality that is at once the same size and far, far larger. In truth, all fiction should aspire to this condition: an attempt to achieve the truly veridical. That such an enterprise has been hijacked by the cod-disciplines of “naturalism” and “realism” is only a function of ideological constraint – constraints that Borges’s tale deliriously break.

Click here to read the rest of this story

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