F. Scott Fitzgerald?s The Great Gatsby and Jorge Luis Borges?s ?El Aleph? can be said to share a structural framework or paradigm which takes the form of a paradox. This paradox concerns the fact that desire is at once finite, because it becomes substantialized in an object, and infinite, because it necessarily exceeds its objects, and any possible object. The experience of this paradox, when carried to the limit, is aporetic, where an aporia is a paradox which cannot be sustained, as continuation is impossible. Specifically, it becomes an aporia when it posits what I will call an absolute object and imagines that this object can be attained. The finitude of subjects and objects of desire may not render it impossible to sustain the desire for an absolute object, but they do render it impossible to attain or possess it.
[...] One such example is Aleph”, which is connected with the idea of an infinite, totalizing vision of the world, where infinite knowledge or omniscience figures as a dream of power.[iv] Just as in Gatsby there was a disillusionment with the American dream, in Aleph,” the narrator becomes disillusioned with the absolute knowledge he glimpses by means of the Aleph, a magical object which delivers a vision of the universe and everything in it.[v] At the beginning of the story, the narrator, who will identify himself as Borges, after losing his lover Beatriz Viterbo to death, develops an acquaintance with the writer Carlos Argentino Daneri, her cousin. [...]
[...] Because the absolute object is structurally impossible, the perception that it has been or is about to be attained always leads to or is accompanied by frustration, which is manifest in Fitzgerald as communicative) impotence (Gatsby cannot speak to Daisy, for example, to tell her he loves her) and in Borges as a sense of disillusionment which leads the narrator to renounce the desire for the absolute. In Fitzgerald this disillusionment, or rather disenchantment, is also expressed, by the narrator, Nick, with regard to a vision of America as once seen by Gatsby. [...]
[...] In Fitzgerald, Nick distances (with fiction) Gatsby's desire, so that fiction, in both cases, places this desire at a certain distance, revealing another possibility that is analogous to a desire that paradoxically avoids its own absolute consummation, suggesting that the process of constructing narrative meaning in fiction itself serves as an alternative model for desire. Notes Bibliography Works Cited Bell-Villada. Borges and His Fiction, A Guide to his Mind and Art. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press Borges, Jorge Luis. [...]
[...] Napierkowski, Vol Detroit: Gale Block de Behar, Borges: The Passion of an Endless Quotation (SUNY). Translated by William Egginton, Albany: State University of New York Bloom, Harold. Major Literary Characters: Gatsby. Edited with an introduction by Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers Borges, Jorge Luis. jardín de senderos que se bifurcan.” In Obras Completas. Buenos Aires: Emecé Derrida, Jacques. “Signature Event Context." Translated by Alan Bass. Reprinted in Margins of Philosophy, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. 307-30. Dictionaries Consulted Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon One meaning of the term in Greek is difficulty of passing” (Liddell and Scott, Greek-English Lexicon). [...]
[...] For the realization of the desire for absolute knowledge renders him unable to desire and unable to remember and thus know his own past experiences. The weight of the absolute knowledge the narrator has glimpsed in the Aleph ironically deprives him of the very ability to experience as well as to remember his experiences and loves. Thus he says, “Temí que no quedara una sola cosa capaz de sorprenderme” (Borges, 668).[xiii] And he laments, “Nuestra mente es porosa para el olvido; yo mismo estoy falseando y perdiendo, bajo la trágica erosión de los años, los rasgos de Beatriz” (Borges, 669).[xiv] In Aleph,” as in Gatsby, there is an inability of language itself to convey or respond to the experience. [...]
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