A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

El simulacro - Jorge Luís Borges
Wednesday, June 15, 2016




El cuento El simulacro de Jorge Luís Borges, uno de los cuentos en mi copia de el hacedor es un cuento gótico y fantástico. Es extraño a mis hojos. Los que aún son militantes (y son muchos) en lo que refiere a todo lo que fue Perón y Evita consideran este cuento una barrabasada. Para mí, más neutro en mis opiniones del peronismo es un cuento formidable que me desquilibra. A continuación aquí está el cuento en castellano y en inglés.

El simulacro, a story by Jorge Luís Borges is one of the stories in my copy of his El hacedor. It is both Gothic and fantastic. The Gothic part in my mind is unique in this story as I don’t think there may be any others. Those who still see Perón and Evita’s regime favourably, and there are many consider el simulacro to be ample proof that Borges deplored Perón and his companion/wife. I am not all that sure but then while I lived the years of Perón and Evita until just before his fall I look at it with some element of neutrality. But every time I read this I feel uncomfortable and unsettled. Below you will find the story in Spanish and in English.


EL SIMULACRO – Jorge Luis Borges

        En uno de los días de julio de 1952, el enlutado apareció en aquel pueblito del Chaco. Era alto, flaco, aindiado, con una cara inexpresiva de opa o de máscara; la gente lo trataba con deferencia, no por él sino por el que representaba o ya era. Eligió un rancho cerca del río; con la ayuda de unas vecinas, armó una tabla sobre dos caballetes y encima una caja de cartón con una muñeca de pelo rubio. Además, encendieron cuatro velas en candeleros altos y pusieron flores alrededor. La gente no tardó en acudir. Viejas desesperadas, chicos atónitos, peones que se quitaban con respeto el casco de corcho, desfilaban ante la caja y repetían: Mi sentido pésame, General. Este, muy compungido, los recibía junto a la cabecera, las manos cruzadas sobre el vientre, como mujer encinta. Alargaba la derecha para estrechar la mano que le tendían y contestaba con entereza y resignación: Era el destino. Se ha hecho todo lo humanamente posible. Una alcancía de lata recibía la cuota de dos pesos y a muchos no les bastó venir una sola vez.
        ¿Qué suerte de hombre (me pregunto) ideó y ejecutó esa fúnebre farsa? ¿Un fanático, un triste, un alucinado o un impostor y un cínico? ¿Creía ser Perón al representar su doliente papel de viudo macabro? La historia es increíble pero ocurrió y acaso no una vez sino muchas, con distintos actores y con diferencias locales. En ella está la cifra perfecta de una época irreal y es como el reflejo de un sueño o como aquel drama en el drama, que se ve en Hamlet. El enlutado no era Perón y la muñeca rubia no era la mujer Eva Duarte, pero tampoco Perón era Perón ni Eva era Eva sino desconocidos o anónimos (cuyo nombre secreto y cuyo rostro verdadero ignoramos) que figuraron, para el crédulo amor de los arrabales, una crasa mitología.

Borges’s “El simulacro”

Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions. Translated by Andrew Hurley. New York, New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1998. 301-302:

One day in July, 1952, the man dressed in mourning weeds appeared in that little village on the Chaco River. He was a tall, thin man with vaguely Indian features and the inexpressive face of a half-wit or a mask. The townsfolk treated him with some deference, not because of who he was but because of the personage he was portraying or had by now become. He chose a house near the river; with the help of some neighbor women he laid a board across two sawhorses, and on it he set a pasteboard coffin with a blond-haired mannequin inside. In addition, they lighted four candles in tall candleholders and put flowers all around. The townsfolk soon began to gather. Old ladies bereft of hope, dumbstruck wide-eyed boys, peons who respectfully took off their pith hats — they filed past the coffin and said: My condolences, General. The man in mourning sat sorrowfully at the head of the coffin, his hands crossed over his belly like a pregnant woman. He would extend his right hand to shake the hand extended to him and answer with courage and resignation: It was fate. Everything humanly possible was done. A tin collection box received the two-peso price of admission, and many could not content themselves with a single visit.

What kind of man, I ask myself, thought up and then acted out that funereal farce — a fanatic? a grief-stricken mourner? a madman? a cynical impostor? Did he, in acting out his mournful role as the macabre widower, believe himself to be Perón? It is an incredible story, but it actually happened — and perhaps not once but many times, with different actors and local variants. In it, one can see the perfect symbol of an unreal time, and it is like the reflection of a dream or like that play within a play in Hamlet. The man in mourning was not Perón and the blond-haired mannequin was not the woman Eva Duarte, but then Perón was not Perón, either, nor was Eva, Eva — they were unknown or anonymous persons (whose secret name and true face we shall never know) who acted out, for the credulous love of the working class, a crass and ignoble mythology.



     

Previous Posts
Rosemary, Kebek & Centaurea cyanus

Everything and Nothing

Shooting From the Hip

Young Love, first love & an Angel in the Audience

The Baron

That Gluteus maximus

Defending the Fort With Leander

Entre sostener una mano, y encadenar un alma

George Plimpton, Gordon Parks & Muhhamad Ali

Don't See Me!



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9/13/15 - 9/20/15

9/20/15 - 9/27/15

9/27/15 - 10/4/15

10/4/15 - 10/11/15

10/18/15 - 10/25/15

10/25/15 - 11/1/15

11/1/15 - 11/8/15

11/8/15 - 11/15/15

11/15/15 - 11/22/15

11/22/15 - 11/29/15

11/29/15 - 12/6/15

12/6/15 - 12/13/15

12/13/15 - 12/20/15

12/20/15 - 12/27/15

12/27/15 - 1/3/16

1/3/16 - 1/10/16

1/10/16 - 1/17/16

1/31/16 - 2/7/16

2/7/16 - 2/14/16

2/14/16 - 2/21/16

2/21/16 - 2/28/16

2/28/16 - 3/6/16

3/6/16 - 3/13/16

3/13/16 - 3/20/16

3/20/16 - 3/27/16

3/27/16 - 4/3/16

4/3/16 - 4/10/16

4/10/16 - 4/17/16

4/17/16 - 4/24/16

4/24/16 - 5/1/16

5/1/16 - 5/8/16

5/8/16 - 5/15/16

5/15/16 - 5/22/16

5/22/16 - 5/29/16

5/29/16 - 6/5/16

6/5/16 - 6/12/16

6/12/16 - 6/19/16

6/19/16 - 6/26/16

6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16