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César Aira

Forgetting is like a great alchemy free of secrets, limpid, transforming everything to the present. In the end it makes our lives into this visible and tangible thing we hold in our hands, with no folds left hidden in the past. — César Aira, The Seamstress and the Wind. (New Directions June 30, 2011) Originally… Continue reading César Aira

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Jorge Luis Borges

I have been Homer; shortly, I shall be No One, like Ulysses; shortly, I shall be all men; I shall be dead. — Jorge Luis Borges, from “The Immortal,” Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings. (New Directions; Augmented edition 1964) Originally published 1962.

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American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Excerpt · Passage · Poetry · Postmodernism · The New York School

John Ashbery

Heck, it’s anybody’s story, A sentimental journey—“gonna take a sentimental journey,” And we do, but you wake up under the table of a dream: You are that dream, and it is the seventh layer of you. We haven’t moved an inch, and everything has changed. — John Ashbery, from “More Pleasant Adventures,“ A Wave (Open… Continue reading John Ashbery

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David Foster Wallace

Among pernicious myths is the one where people always get very upbeat and generous and other-directed right before they eliminate their own map for keeps. The truth is that the hours before a suicide are usually an interval of enormous conceit and self-involvement. ― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest. (Back Bay Books; 1st Paperback Ed… Continue reading David Foster Wallace

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Emil M. Cioran

After having struggled madly to solve all problems, after having suffered on the heights of despair, in the supreme hour of revelation, you will find that the only answer, the only reality, is silence. —  Emil M. Cioran, On the Heights of Despair, (University Of Chicago Press,1996)

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William Faulkner

You see, I was that sun, or thought I was who did believe there was that spark, that crumb in madness which is divine, though madness know no word itself for terror or for pity. —  William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom! (Vintage; Reissue edition November 1990) Originally published 1936.

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Eugenio Montale

It never occurred to you to leave any trace of yourself in prose or verse, which was your charm—and then my self-disgust. It was also what terrified me: that you might cast me back into the croaking mire of my playful allusions. — Eugenio Montale, from “Xenia I,” The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry. (Ecco;… Continue reading Eugenio Montale

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