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Priel, B. (1994). Symmetry: Matte-Blanco's Theory and Borges's Fiction. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 75:815-823.

(1994). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 75:815-823

Symmetry: Matte-Blanco's Theory and Borges's Fiction

Beatriz Priel


Matte-Blanco's theory reformulates the Freudian unconscious from the perspective of mathematical set theory, pointing to symmetric logic as the distinctive mark of the unconscious. Borges's fictional creations are presented as thematising and dramatising, in the act of reading, Matte-Blanco's main concepts of symmetry, bi-logic and the fundamental antinomy of human begins. This study's main thesis is that aesthetic experiences, such as the reading of Borges's literary creation, may allow for a broader experience of symmetrical being than the one conveyed through everyday language. In this context, the analysis of some of Borges's themes and main stylistic devices seems to shed light on bi-logic, from the perspective of the reader's experience and creation of meaning. Borges's characteristic use of literary allusions, as well as the suggested interchangeability of reader, writer and character, are understood as devices which increase the reader's awareness of relations of resemblance, destroying chronology and differences, uniting the text and the reference. From this perspective, a main effect of Borges's creation stems from an enhanced awareness of the interplay of symmetry and asymmetry, and the problem of the translation of symmetric into asymmetric being. Borges's stories effect in the reader an experience of infiniteness, timelessness, multidimensionality and assimilation of the proper part to the whole, as the background of the theme of (asymmetric) story-telling.

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