The Paradox of Words
THE SOURCE: “The Muse of Impossibility” by Alberto Manguel, in The Threepenny Review, Fall 2010.
Argentine essayist Alberto Manguel believes that at the heart of writing lies a paradox: Writers think that they “can construct (or reconstruct) the world through words”—that language can, by expressing reality, create reality—but at the same time, capturing the world with words is impossible. Writers can never create anything more than “something that suggests an approximation to a copy of a blurry intuition of the real thing,” Manguel writes. “All our libraries are the glorious record of that failure.”