Chronicles of Bustos Domecq by Jorge Luis Borges

By Jorge Luis Borges

Publication by way of Borges, Jorge Luis

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They are tied to learning to speak a foreign language. My parents were bilingual, but I grew up at ¤rst speaking German only. We lived in a region that eventually became a part of Poland, a process that had not yet become a fact when I was eight years old. Within what must have been weeks, I spoke Polish.

In fact, embarrassment may be the main reason for my apparent lack of interest. I am embarrassed by most institutionalized theatre in my own society as I am embarrassed by church services I must attend for a con¤rmation, a wedding, or a funeral. In German, I would translate embarrassing as peinlich, a cognate of painful, something that hurts. A few years ago, I was thrilled to see my seven-year-old daughter share my feelings. She and her mother had decided to attend at least one of three lectures I was invited to present in the Jefferson Rotunda at the University of Virginia.

E. Dennett met an egungun who had performed at the funeral of an important chief. ” The egungun presented himself before Dennett’s tent, saying that he was the father—that is, the deceased come from heaven—and at the same time he asked what Dennett was going to give him for his entertaining performance. The egungun not only wore proper Yoruba clothes but had top boots made by the Hausa and European pants (Dennett 1910, 29–30). In Nigeria’s much-commodi¤ed cultural scene of the 1970s, egungun carried calling cards with them, always ready to serve spectators as paying customers.

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