Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Parallel passages redux

(It was clever of the LRB to juxtapose Alan Bennett's piece on libraries -- "Baffled at a bookcase" -- with Eliot Weinberger's vaguely Borgesian list of books, "The Cloud Bookcase.")

I. From Eliot Weinberger, "The Cloud Bookcase":
The Identity of Both
by Lo Yin (833-910)
Often confused with The Identity of Both by Wu Yün (d. 778).
II. Guy Davenport on Wittgenstein:
It is questionable if when he died he had ever come to any understanding of the number 2. Two what? Two things would have to be identical, which is absurd if identity has any meaning. 
(The parallels between W. and D. go fairly deep. Perhaps this is a quirk of my reading history but I know Weinberger best from 19 Ways of Looking at Wang Wei, and Davenport from 7 Greeks. That seven and nineteen are both prime is not a separate coincidence, as numbers in this context always are.)

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