By Claudio Magris

Who is the mysterious narrator of Blindly? truly a recluse and a fugitive, yet what extra of him will we determine? Baffled through the occasions of his personal existence, he muses, "When I write, or even now while i feel again on it, I listen a type of humming, blathered phrases that i will slightly comprehend, gnats droning round a desk lamp, that i must constantly swat away with my hand, in order to not lose the thread."

Claudio Magris, certainly one of Europe's best authors and cultural philosophers, deals as narrator of Blindly a madman. convinced, yet a pazzo lucido, a lucid madman, a unmarried narrative voice populated by way of quite a few characters. he's Jorgen Jorgenson, the nineteenth-century adventurer who turned king of Iceland yet was once condemned to compelled exertions within the Antipodes. he's additionally Comrade Cippico, a communist militant, imprisoned for years in Tito's gulag at the island Goli Otok. And he's the numerous partisans, prisoners, sailors, and stowaways who've encountered the perils of commute, conflict, and experience. In a transferring choral monologue—part confession, half psychiatric session—a guy recalls (invents, falsifies, hides, screams out) his lifestyles, a voyage into the nether areas of background, and particularly the 20 th century.

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Sample text

Just let me finish, I was talking about Achilles and Agamemnon, who have a Homer conveniently at hand to sum up their exploits, while I have to do it all on my own, live, fight, lose and write. And it’s only fitting. It would be unseemly if they had to also start recapping the day—what with their battles, divine apparitions and the downfall of lineages and cities; it would be like requiring them to personally aid the wounded and bury the dead. They have slaves devoted to Aesculapius and gravediggers for that, just as they have stewards who cut their meat for dinner, and a bard who sings at the end of the meal and puts their lives in order, while they listen to him all sluggish and somnolent.

He seems convinced that he is still in Australia, and above all that he is the clone of a certain Jorgen Jorgensen, a deported adventurer who died in Tasmania in the mid-nineteenth century, whose autobiography he sometimes says he read and sometimes claims he wrote—as though you couldn’t write and then read the same book, what an idea! And even if I had read it before writing it, it wouldn’t change anything. It’s so difficult to determine what comes first and what comes later, Goli Otok, Dachau or Port Arthur; suffering is always in the present, here and now.

No. 485, is indeed a fine fiction ... Not that I don’t have my problems. When in Newgate, amidst that thieving, murderous scum—though I made them respect me from the outset, I had after all witnessed and doled out death on the deck of the Admiral Juhl or the Surprize, under the Danish flag and the British flag—when I wrote about the truth of our religion revealed in the Scriptures and in nature, in that cell in Newgate where I had been unjustly thrown by the judges of His Majesty George IV, I realized that prophets hear the word of God, that it comes to them as tremendous, a thunderclap in their ears, and that to tell it to others they turn around, addressing those left at the foot of the mountain, looking down like Reverend Blunt from the pulpit when he preaches in the prison chapel, and they repeat it, but that word, spoken through their mouths, comes out muffled, distorted, it is no longer the word of God but of someone else.

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