Monday, September 12, 2011

The Animal Imagined by Poe: Chapter 6

The Animal Imagined by Poe: Copper, Silver Leaf, Carnelian
I am enormously pleased by how little Poe turned out. His description, in Poe's writing, is not so different from a mink. "...It was three feet in length, and but six inches in height, with four very short legs, the feet were armed with long claws in brilliant scarlet, and resembling coral in substance. the body was covered in straight silky hair, perfectly white... The teeth were the same brilliant scarlet as the claws." This is quoted in Borge's text, as is another, longer passage, on the quality of the water in this far northern land. I, like Borges, found the passage on the water even more interesting. Borges must have picked it out because it was beautiful, I was struck by how very likely it is the basis the Sea of Stories that Rushdie allowed his Haroun to find. Here's a taste "...Upon collecting a basin full, and allowing it to settle thoroughly, we perceived that the whole mass of liquid was made of a number of distinct veins, each of a distinct hue; that these veins did not commingle; and that their cohesion was perfect in regard to their own particles among themselves, but imperfect in regard to neighboring veins..." It's a lovely little bit of text, the whole bit is from Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Both of these snippets are from chapter XVIII.

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