On the giving of specifics

by look i have opinions

“I will not say where or when; I know all too well that such specifics are in fact vaguenesses.”

—a Borges narrator (“Shakespeare’s Memory,” as translated by Andrew Hurley)

This sort of statement is common in the non-meta sort of fiction. Even as a child, I read many books in which the characters or narrators commented on well-worn storytelling conventions in order to explicitly reject or undermine them. The meta-convention itself became well-worn. I’m not sure if Borges is using it that way, as a device to make his story more believable. He has a tendency to give exact places, exact dates (particularly at the ends of his stories and fictional essays, when the major characters die), and exact citations (the cited books themselves often being fictitious). Perhaps he’s mocking himself for this tendency.

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