Sunday, January 6, 2008
Of Borges, Virtual Reality, and Web 2.0
I am a fan of Borges.
So, when I found out about a new book on Borges, my curiosity took charge.
The new project is by Perla Sasson-Henry and it's called Borges 2.0: From Text to Virtual Worlds. Its premise is of much interest to me for it deals with the Web and a supposed 'pre-knowledge' Borges, the librarian, might have had about it.
As the review has it:
Yet a growing number of contemporary commentators — whether literature professors or cultural critics like Umberto Eco — have concluded that Borges uniquely, bizarrely, prefigured the World Wide Web. One recent book, “Borges 2.0: From Text to Virtual Worlds” by Perla Sassón-Henry, explores the connections between the decentralized Internet of YouTube, blogs and Wikipedia — the so-called Internet 2.0 — and Borges’s stories, which “make the reader an active participant.” Ms. Sassón-Henry, an associate professor in the language studies department of the United States Naval Academy, describes Borges as “from the Old World with a futuristic vision.” Another work, a collection of essays on the topic from Bucknell University Press, has the provocative title “Cy-Borges” and is expected to appear this year.
So, why read this book?
First and foremost, I would say, one needs to reads this because it asks intellectually stimulating questions about book and knowledge organization and how those who came during pre-Web 2.0 saw and quantified information. But the main reason would be, it asks some appealing and interesting questions about Borges' literary instinct about narratives and plot lines.
For did there, ever, live a better librarian than the incomparable Argentine?
hat tip to ny times' Noam Cohen