Borges and the stars’ tennis balls

Jorge Luis Borges, apparently, “used to treasure terrible lines from literature.”

One was a character in John Webster’s “The Duchess of Malfi” who says, “We are merely the stars’ tennis balls.” Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” contains this shocker: “I had no desire to aggravate his impatience, previous to inspecting his penetralium.”

And George Orwell, writing about “good bad books” (those that, as Stephen Bayley writes, achieve “a surprisingly exhilarating effect despite flaws of style and construction that disqualify [them] as … ‘literature'”), famously argued that Uncle Tom’s Cabin would outlive the novels of Virginia Woolf.


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