Gombrowicz on Borges
The interviews that Dominique de Roux made it the Gombrowicz in 1967, was "The human in search of the human". In this fragment, Witold Gombrowicz says, analyzes and reinterprets the intellectual Borges, the blind Borges, the Borges man. Here you can read the passage; the original text, from this link:
Dominique de Roux: And Borges?
Witold Gombrowicz: Borges and I are opposites. It is rooted in the literature, and in the life. I am, to tell the truth, anti-literary. Precisely because of that could have been fruitful rapprochement with Borges, but technical difficulties prevented this. We have found once or twice, and that was all. Borges had already its Chapel, somewhat deferential. He spoke and listened to them.
What he said didn't seem to me the best quality; was too narrow, too literary, paradoxes, one-liners, subtleties, in a Word, the genre I most hate. His intelligence not dazzled me; only later, When I read his actual artistic works (his short stories), I had no less than give a rare insight of soul and spirit. But the "spoken" Borges, the Borges of conversations, Conference, interviews, and also of the essays and criticisms, It has always seemed poor, rather superficial. In Argentina, I cited often as "excellent" the one-liners of Borges. As well, I always disappointing. They were nothing more than literature, and not the best.
D. (R).: How you explain this remarkable difference between the art of Borges and the "spoken" Borges?
W. (G).: I have my theory about that. In my opinion, they do not give sufficient importance to the fact that Borges is almost blind. It is what has allowed this high concentration inside of which were works of art of great value. But it is also what has condemned him to not live more than within a given circle, too narrow, formed by those writers none of them had enough height to counter it; a somewhat mannered admiration is lavished on him, and they followed him more and more in the fine arabesques of his thoughts and his seudoerudicion (All scholarship is and can be no more than pseudo; Scholar Borges is a terrifying ignorance and, In addition, a questionable intelligence, because scholarship is essentially unintelligible). For this reason, Borges, on his blindness, It has become ever deeper, and in their dealings with the outside world increasingly superficial. This development deserves respect, from the moment in which a blind man can not lead a normal life. But I think his fans are making a mistake by failing to distinguish the two Borges and wrap in the same cloud of incense his intelligence and his ininteligencia. It ininteligencia that you manifested both in the manic raiding of literary crumbs without value, and in a revelation of this genre: "Do you think of the duel?"" I am absolutely opposed to it; When there is a difference between two people, that difference, I think that has nothing to do with swords or with the death of one of those people".
D. (R).: It could make you an objection here. If the fact that Borges is in some sense limited or intellectually extravagant was due to his blindness, It would not have been such at the time that his view was still almost normal. And however, at the beginning of his literary creation, Borges was less original and more prisoner still of the estetismos. Both in what you wrote what he said.
W. (G).: You are right. I should perhaps say that blindness has not allowed him to overcome, "exquisite conversationalist" plane and the plane of life, What has surpassed it in his art. I do not know...
D. (R).: With everything, are you sometimes very severe with his art. In one of the chapters of his 'Daily' published in Les Lettres Nouvelles, described it you "tasteless for literati broth".
W. (G).: I have spoken awkwardly. I think it very much as an artist. But what property has to attract scholars, to the aesthetes, to the "carvers", Bibliophiles, teachers, commentators and other connoisseurs and specialists in lyrics! To these I pointed with my "tasteless broth", not to it.
I have had the opportunity in Argentina to meet some of the fans of his inner circle. Have not caused me astonishment or by an excess of intelligence, or by an overflow of spiritual energy. You should not, because, Small wonder that they do not understand a word of Ferdydurke, newly translated at the time to the Spanish. But even if Borges acolytes had been able to transmit a vague idea in my book (to it, Unable to read only), It would have not served anything. This man, very sincere and deeply human in her solitude, in everyday life he fears men, and shyness, aristocratic refinement will oblige him flee the sincerity. His alleged modesty is no more than a shell for its aristocratic sensitivity. The modest sir Jorge Borges, Knight of British Empire, Commandeur des Lettres et des Arts, Knight of the order of the Sun and of the order of la Madonnina, etc., would experience, seems to me, great difficulties to understand with some vain Gombrowicz, to dry.