All the Pretty Horses

In the first volume of Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, 16-year-old John Grady Cole set off for Mexico with his friend Rawlins. At a riverside, a younger boy, Blevins, riding a beautiful, presumably stolen horse, joined them. When Rawlins asked, “What the hell would we want you with us for?” Blevins answered, “Cause I’m an American,” […]

Is All Unreal?

Jorge Luis Borges describes “The Circular Ruins,” published in The Garden of Forking Paths in 1941, as a tale of fantasy.  He writes, “In ‘The Circular Ruins,’ all is unreal.” A mere five-page story, “The Circular Ruins” raises questions on the nature of reality, knowledge, time, and the self. How does the unreal—thematically and stylistically—throw […]

What Is Literature?

Literature is a mode of playing with reality in which pleasure is derived from imaginary engagement that organizes, constructs, and represents our physical and mental experiences in an artistic manner. It is imaginary play that draws participants into the realm of “what if,” engaging the players (i.e., creator, performer, audience) emotionally and intellectually. Literature as […]