Reub's journey

14 November 2012

Those that belong to the emperor

I picture Borges over a whiskey, scribbling on a napkin,  coming up with this divine, arbitrary classification of animals:

Animals are divided into:
• those that belong to the Emperor,

• embalmed ones,
• those that are trained,
• suckling pigs,
• mermaids,
• fabulous ones,
• stray dogs,
• those included in the present classification,
• those that tremble as if they were mad,
• innumerable ones,
• those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
• others,
• those that have just broken a flower vase,
• those that from a long way off look like flies.

from the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge,
by Jorge Luis Borges



Borges' taxonomy is from his 1942 essay The Analytical Language of John Wilkins, which I haven't read, but that's not stopping me from doodling illustrations for it in a battered old sketchbook.




 Who are those that belong to the emperor?




Or the embalmed ones?




It's fun to think about, a project to mull over for a long time.

18 comments:

  1. " those that have just broken a flower vase " made me laugh!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! Maybe I'll share the sketch; you won't be surprised by the creature I chose to draw.

      Delete
  2. oops. meant to say i really like your doodles/creations.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. "Ficciones" is on my to-read list.

      Delete
  4. What a creative mind you have. This is a lovely little trip down fantasy or dreamland lane. I don't know Borges well...so probably missing the depth of this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “Reality is not always probable, or likely” is a quote from Borges, so I think you've nailed it by identifying a dreamland.

      I've only read one book by Borges ("The Book of Imaginary Beings") but I want to read more. I don't think he's an easy author to read so I must be in the right frame of mind.

      Delete
  5. so, what kind of pets do you have? oh, you know...suckling pigs, mermaids, fabulous ones...
    i love this project...keep on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! And also "those that from a long way off look like flies"!!

      Thanks Debbie!

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Some day I'd like to see your sketch book.

      Delete
  7. you are one majorly talented lady , lady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah not really. Just a dabbler and a doodler. But thank you!

      Delete
  8. If I ever write a children's book I know who to ask for illustrations! I'd love to see your sketch pad, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pauline I would love to read any children's book you might write! I've never illustrated a book, though.

      Delete
  9. I like this assignment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good! You can help me with it when you next see me.

      Delete

Talk to me.