By Force of Economic Clarity

As everyone, I tend to read different books at the same time. And sometimes these different texts unexpectedly relate, even strengthen one another. Janos Kornai’s powerful autobiography By Force of Thought – Irregular Memoirs of an Intelectual Journey (2006), wants to be everything that the older Jorge Borges in my collections of short stories does not want to be: factual, rationally reconstructive, and clear. In addition the author claims to lack the literary talent to sketch characters, historical circumstances, and emotions.

Compare that to the erudite-intellectual-if-ever-there-was-one Borges. Literature as the constant balancing act between realism and what lies beyond. With a different companion, I would have thought Kornai a nice historical source, but dull and academic. Equally, my snobbish academic ego again would have fallen wholeheartedly for Borges. But this time I could not but admire Kornai for analyzing his own past as he would have analyzed the Soviet Union, while being slightly annoyed by Borges’ over-the-top literary tours de force. It males one hope for more economic autobiographies.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s