Thought for the Weekend #6

“Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” is a story by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, which takes the form of a piece of literary criticism. To summarise, in it he argues that the fictional Pierre Menard’s translation of Don Quixote is a superior work to the original, despite being line for line identical, because it needs to be considered in the context of the current world and therefore is richer in allusions and meaning.

The implications of this were brought home to me rather forcibly last night, when I watched the original theatrical trailer for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and realised that tag line ‘…everything you’ve always wanted to do, and Audrey Hepburn is the one you’ve always wanted to do it with…’ would almost certainly be far more pregnant with meaning to modern viewers than it ever would have been to those of 1961.

Sadly I’m not Borges and don’t have the skill to produce a literary masterpiece courtesy of this revelation, but on a slow Saturday afternoon it’ll pass muster as a blog entry demonstrating how easy it is to trivialise great literature.

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