“Of course, it is impossible to live without others, without the body. And solitude is false, an illusion, like magic, as it was for Plato and the Platonists, for the mystics who cast off and condemn the body, not as an austere sacrifice, but for the great pride of being able to surpass physical ‘limitations.’ Living life outside of the world, being hermit in the desert—these are sealed exits. What then? To understand that you are—if you can be—the shape of the face, the ineptitude, the restlessness.”
— Ricardo Piglia, The Diaries of Emilio Renzi: Formative Years (trans. Robert Croll)
I’m so happy to see that you’re reading these, partly because Vol.1 was my favorite book of 2018, and partly because I don’t know anyone else who’s read them, so I’m anxious to hear what you think! I got sidetracked this year and haven’t read the second volume, but now I will. My brief comments about Vol. 1, with a bit about diaries and also Knausgaard, are here: https://www.cassandrapages.com/the_cassandra_pages/2018/12/book-list-2018.html
Thanks for your comments and link, Beth. I share your admiration for Piglia’s journals. There aren’t many pages that aren’t annotated or underlined, always a sign of the depth of a book’s impression on me. From what I’ve sampled of his novels, I’m not at all sure they are for me, but Piglia, from what I’ve read, considered the journals his magnum opus. I have my own Knausgaard project planned for the autumn-winter, so I’ll dig into your archives and read about your explorations.
And also, how perfect to read this now, in the light of what your earlier musings about fragmentary meditations on a life of reading.