This artful story as a paradoxical literary critique seems highly topical today in alignment with Salman Rushdie’s QUICHOTTE that I once reviewed in manic detail HERE, whereby quotes from this Rushdie book, like ‘Wall Street guys in suspenders getting bottle service in nightclubs or doing tequila shots and throwing themselves at women as if they were banknotes.’ and ‘…so that the book of how everything became nothing cannot be written,…’,
need to be factored into Borges’ “don Quixote on Wall Street” mentioned in this Menard ‘story’ and…
…that this Borges is a literary critique establishing, against gainsayers, the correct bibliography for Pierre Menard, including his transcending of the many-many-monkeys-typing-away idea by rewriting DON QUIXOTE, by accident, word for word as a modern novel, and we reach a manic monkey gestalt by dint of a list of Menard’s works from (a) to (s) including, inter alia…
“(p) a diatribe against Paul Valéry, in Jacques Reboul’s Feuilles pour la suppression de la realité (which diatribe, I might add parenthetically, states the exact reverse of Menard’s true opinion of Valéry; Valéry understood this, and the two men’s friendship was never imperiled);”
“Those who have insinuated that Menard devoted his life to writing a contemporary Quixote besmirch his illustrious memory.”
And so, do we besmirch Rushdie’s living reputation by implying he didn’t succeed by different means? No, because he continues to succeed.
“My obliging predecessor did not spurn the collaboration of chance; his method of composition for the immortal book was a bit à la diable, and he was often swept along by the inertiæ of the language and the imagination.”
“Historical truth, for Menard, is not ‘what happened’; it is what we believe happened.”
“Fame is a form – perhaps the worst form – of incomprehension.
Those nihilistic observations were not new; what was remarkable was the decision that Pierre Menard derived from them. He resolved to anticipate the vanity that awaits all the labors of mankind; he undertook a task of infinite complexity, a task futile from the outset.”
“Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe that in the future he shall be.”
…and thus my manic monkey gestalt: the idea that Borges and Menard and Rushdie and Cervantes are not mutually exclusive. Even Lope de Vega is explicitly mentioned in Borges’ Menard. (The word ‘menard’ seems, when transcending any translation, strangely meaningful, but when you try to explain why it means what you think it means, then that meaning seems mad and ceases to be.)
Headquote in my own novel ‘Nemonymous Night’ (Chômu Press 2011):
“‘You are not your name, not your body, not your various actions—not even your soul or self. Just dig and see, haul back what you find. And try not laugh or cry when, from the core of reality, you reveal the true nature of “you”.’
— Lope de Vega (loose translation)”
Full context of this review: https://etepsed.wordpress.com/1303-2/