The Circular Ruins is thought to be as one of the works of Herbert Quain. The Circular Ruins parallels much of what was said about Herbert Quain’s stories within A Survey of the Works of Herbert Quain. After reading these two stories, I found them very confusing. I found that drawing a connection between the two stories seems to come back to the same starting point. Where in each story there has been a character that has been identified with an original “work”. But in actuality both are not real characters. The idea of imagination appears to be the main theme within the two stories.
As in The Circular Ruins, Quain revolves the story around the idea of fantasy. The wizard turns out to be the creation instead of the creator. The wizard doesn’t realize his life is an allusion and he continues to try to create his son. Since the wizard cannot have a son, he is creating one with the likeness of a real human being. As Quain states, “since everyone is not capable of experiencing that pleasure, many will have to content themselves with simulacra” (111). This allows for an interpretation of whether or not there is a never-ending sequence of creations and creators. In a sense the creation will never know that he is a creation, it could be on going cycle. There could be no ultimate creator, and it could go on for infinity.
The Circular Ruins, can also be described as the reader being the creator. “The reader, blinded by vanity, believes that he himself has come up with them” (111). The wizard doesn’t know he is imaginary because the dreamer has created him. The dreamer dreamt of this fictional wizard that was blinded by vanity of his true existence and creation as a whole. “To be not a man, but the projection of another man’s dream-what incomparable humiliation” (100). The wizard finds out that he is just an appearance from a man dreaming about his creation. It may also be speculated that the creator may be blinded as well to fully understand that the creation of the wizard is not a reality. The dreamer envisions the wizard as creating a son, in reality its just his imagination being the creator of a character in his dream.
Both stories are allusions in that they both have fictional characters. The wizard is the fictional character as Quain is the fictional author. As Quain, declares that of the many kinds of pleasure literature can minister, the highest is the pleasure of imagination” (111). Writing as a whole can be described as using made up ideas and characters to portray a story. The author is the creator of the piece of work as the wizard is the created character that dreams about a son. Quain believes “there is no European man or women that’s not a writer, potentially or in fact” (111). As the author is the creator of their work they are entailed to construct something of interest for the reader. Quain describes readers as a “distinct species” and literature should enlighten the reader’s imagination and provide pleasure while reading.