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which must be got precise and right in words. Her see sees not a thing but, when there has been a specific occasion – a tree, say, or a beautiful face, or a lovers’ argument, or a painting – sees it and not its occasion. Her see sees, despite external point of view and occasion. The seen is no longer ‘hers’, it is itself, made, and in its own time, the time Borges imagines with such plasticity... I am put in mind of a familiar formulation, ‘it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquility gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.’ The activity is not secondary, memory; it is primary. The reader’s activity, too, is primary: ‘if his Reader’s mind be sound and vigorous’. The poem’s action is not just historical, a moment, the record of something: it adds to available reality.


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