Chicano Poet

Monday, August 06, 2007

Borges, Bolaño and the Return of the Epic

By Aura Estrada (1977-2007)

During their lifetimes, Jorge Luis Borges and Roberto Bolaño struggled against vanity and all things pretentious, aspirational, ordinary, and obliging. They are peculiar cases in literature, ones that the literary machine itself seems to reject. They were not bestsellers. During a substantial part of their lives, they existed either under the shadow of public rejection, or in the clandestinity of aesthetic infringement. The relationship they sustained with “their time” and the writers of their time was complex and peppered with barbs. Certainly, what they understood as literature had little to do with the desire to appease any aesthetics (social, moral, political, philosophical) other than their own. Their relationship with literature was almost sacred. They believed in little else and were consecrated to her alone, as if literature were (perhaps because it is) a matter of life and death.

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