Wednesday, July 03, 2013

a genre-defying quote about genre-defying.. from a genre-defying book

Ooops, that post title just tossed me into a strange loop (with Epimenedes and a pair of doxes)
Here's the quote

"A fictional biography?"

"Aren't they all?  Better to say a dreamed autobiography.  For, even though it strives for objective truth, it is, like all memoirs, an exercise in self-deception."

           -"On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language," by Ilan Stavans,. p, 254

Publisher's comments:

Yiddish, Spanish, Hebrew, and English-at various points in Ilan Stavans's life, each of these has been the prominent and controversial scholar's primary language. His family's immigrant experience took them from Eastern Europe to the Jewish ghetto of Mexico City, which Stavans abandoned for Israel and subsequently the United States. In this rich memoir, the linguistic chameleon outlines his remarkable cultural heritage from his birth in politically fragile Mexico through his years as a student activist, a young Zionist in Israel, and a student of theology in New York to his career now as a noted academic and writer. Since survival has meant borrowing other people's languages and pretending they were his own, Stavans offers a view of his journey from the perspective of words. Along the way, he introduces his remarkable family: his brother, a musical wunderkind; his father, a Mexican soap opera star; his grandmother who emigrated from Eastern Europe to Mexico in 1929. Masterfully weaving personal reminiscences with a provocative investigation into language acquisition and cultural code switching, On Borrowed Words is a memorable exploration of Stavans's search for his place in the world.

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