Literary Escapes and
Astral Shelters of an
Lisa Block de Behar
Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay
Translated by Virginia Gutiérrez Berner
And in this circular cell a man who looks like me is writing, in characters I
cannot understand, a long poem about a man in another circular cell writing
a poem about a man in yet another circular cell. The series has no end, nor
will anyone ever read what these prisoners are writing.
—Jorge Luis Borges
On the edge of things we do not entirely understand, we create fantastic
stories in order to venture hypotheses or to share with others the vertigos
of our perplexity.
—Adolfo Bioy Casares (1964)
The eternity of hell’s punishments has perhaps taken the worst sting out
of the antique idea of eternal return. It substitutes eternal torture for the
CR: The New Centennial Review, Vol. 9, No. 3, 2010, pp. 61–94, issn 1532-687x.
© Michigan State University Board of Trustees. All rights reserved.
62 ● Literary Escapes and Astral Shelters
It is the legitimate endeavor of scientific man now, as it was twenty-three
hundred years ago, to account for the formation of the solar system and of the
cluster of stars which forms the galaxy, by the fortuitous concourse of atoms.
The greatest expounder of this theory, when asked how he could write an
immense book on the system of the world without one mention of its author,
replied, very logically, “Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là.”
—Charles Sanders Peirce (1998)
In more than one sense, Eternity Through the Stars, pu