Thursday, July 14, 2011

Spectacleshards [i]: Calvino's

This is an excerpt from Italo Calvino's The Nonexistent Knight. No, this is not "copypasted" because I failed to find a .pdf file of the novel. I encoded this with all my er... heartlessness and fingers for tentacles, so, please allow me to beg for your forgiveness had there been typographical errors. Or, fuck off. Kidding.

This is, needless to say, fiction, unlike fiction that claims to be fiction. A lie with deceit as facade. A nightmare within a nightmare. Read on and get whatever you can out of the shards of Calvino's wazakation. Whatever the fuck that fuck means.


This uncertainty was nearly fatal. The Moor was pressing closer and closer when a great row went up nearby. A Moorish officer in the press of the battle suddenly let out a cry.

At this shout Raimbaut's adversary raised his visor as if asking for a truce, and called out in reply.

"What's he say?" Raimbaut asked the interpreter.

"He said, 'Yes, Argalif Isohar, I'll bring you your spectacles at once!"

"So it's not him!"

"I am Argalif Isohar's spectacle bearer," exclaimed his adversary. "Spectacles are instruments as yet unknown to you Christians, and are lenses to correct the sight. Isohar, being short-sighted, is forced to wear them in battle, but as they're glass a pair gets broken every fight. I'm attached to him to supply new ones. May I therefore request that we interrupt our duel, otherwise the Argalif, weak of sight as is, will get the worst of it."

"Ah, the spectacle bearer!" roared Raimbaut, not knowing whether to gut him in a rage or rush at the real Isohar. But what merit would there be in fighting a blind adversary?

"Do let me go, sir," went on the optician, "as the plan of battle depends on his keeping in good health, and if he doesn't see he's lost!" and brandishing the spectacles he shouted back "Here Argalif, here are the glasses!"

"No!" said Raimbaut, and slashed at the bits of glasses shattering them.

At the same instant, as if the sound of the lenses in smithereens had been a sign in his end, Isohar was pierced by a Christian lance.

"Now," said the optician, "he doesn't need glasses to gaze at the houris in Paradise," and off he spurred.


I really hope to finish reading this novel--and eventually the entire trilogy--soon. I am done being isolated with Albert Camus's collection of six short stories Exile and the Kingdom, save for the last story. I am quite happy with the misery of "The Artist at Work" and quite depressed with the defeatist 'fate' of "The Silent Men." Would try to review the collection (naks, amfeeling!) soon.

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