Borges and Myself

Today is the birthday of Jorge Luis Borges (1899), the godfather of “magic realism,” whatever that turned out to be. When I was in graduate school, the academic journal we put out interviewed him. I was out of town and missed the event itself but had the misfortune to return in time to help transcribe the interview. His English was perfect but very heavily accented as only that of a native Argentinian could be, very lispy on the “s” sounds. At one point, he said, “Her name, I regret to say, was Oothoon.” We labored for hours trying to figure out what the devil he actually said. Which was, I regret to say, Oothoon. She’s a character in William Blake’s The Daughters of Albion, not exactly one of his greatest hits. That’s my Blake story and I’m sticking to it.