Thursday, March 17, 2011

Prompt One Circular Ruin

Reading Survey of the Works of Herbert Quain there is great detail in aspects of many of his works. From what I understood Quain was a writer built on structure and symmetry. There seemed to be a similar system that Quain used and followed through out his publishing’s. In the survey Borges breaks down the system in which Quain seems to repeat in an x, y, and z fashion as if the stories are outlined and structured.

Quain seems to me an exciting and mysterious writer. When the survey is discussing his novel April-March, there is an ultimate understanding to everything Quain conveys. In the title Quain is using the April before March because he is saying results are preceded by occurrences. Borges says, “…a backward running world posited by Bradley, in which death precedes birth, scar precedes the wound, and the wound precedes the blow.(pg 108)” This line made me quite interested into the deeper meanings of Quain.

Continuing the finish and discover Herbert Quina was the author of The Circular Ruin it makes sense. When reading The Circular Ruin, it seems to follow the designed pattern that Borges lays out for the reader. Borges says when discussing Quains The God of the Labyrinth, “That phares allows for one to infer that the solution is in fact an error, and so, uneasy, the reader looks back over the pertinent chapters and discovers another solution, which is the correct one.(pg 108)” Does Quain not do the same thing in The Curcular Ruin? When the reader reads the ending and realizes where the man dreams he has been the dreamed one Quain created an alternate solution that was the correct one.

This reading was a difficult one to fully grasp for me personally. I had to reread this story a few times. The ending is a neatly added twist that got my head spinning when I first read that he was the dream of another man. Yet I believe this is what Quian wants to accomplish. He works off the ideas of letting the reader have freedom to understand the story how he or she gets it. When you are reading of the man in the ruins dreaming and creating another person and how the man goes about his day-to-day life you are really reading the process in which the man has become an appearance. I found this story interesting and Quain seemed to have followed his system as usual in making sure to keep the reader guessing. The theme I got from The Circular Ruin is similar to the title of April-March, in a sense the man preceded himself being another mans dream. This is what I believe makes The Circular Ruin, a Quain story.


  1. I think you brought up many good points in your essay. I could see where you were going with it and I agree with you. The only thing you might have neglected was the idea that Borges wrote The Circular Ruins, not Quain. Quain might have given him the inspiration, making it important to point out how much is Quain's, but it is a Borges work. You might want to extend this essay by also commenting on Borges and the way he likes to write novels. You might want to try and see if you can figure out just how much is Borges and how much is Quain.

  2. To build on what Lindsay is saying: Quain doesn't exist. Borges created a fictional writer, named Quain, then created a story as if Quain had written it.

    The idea that Q. is an "exciting and mysterious author is a little strange"; he isn't really portrayed that way in the story-essay about him. Your discussion of Q's design pattern is a better angle, but you do it only briefly and vaguely, with limited engagement with the actual text.

    Although you often have proofreading problems, the proofreading here was bad enough that it was hard to read.