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Nadine Gordimer

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Both Borges and Sartre, from their totally different extremes of denying literature a social purpose, were certainly perfectly aware that it has its implicit and unalterable social role in exploring the state of being, from which all other roles, personal among friends, public at the protest demonstration, derive. Borges was not writing for his friends, for he published and we all have received the bounty of his work. Sartre did not stop writing, although he stood at the barricades in 1968.

Nadine Gordimer

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When Sartre and I met not only did our backgrounds fuse, but also our solidity, our individual conviction that we were what we were made to be. In that framework we could not become rivals. Then, as the relationship between Sartre and me grew, I became convinced that I was irreplaceable in his life, and he in mine. In other words, we were totally secure in the knowledge that our relationship was also totally solid, again preordained, though, of course, we would have laughed at that word then. When you have such security it's easy not to be jealous. But had I thought that another woman played the same role as I did in Sartre's life, of course, I would have been jealous.

Simone De Beauvoir

Extremes of fantastic hope and skepticism paradoxically coexist in Borges' thought. In "Pascal's Sphere" he examines an image which is not only paradoxical in itself — the universe as an infinite sphere, in other words, a boundless form perfectly circumscribed — but which has also served to express diametrically opposite emotions: Bruno's elation and Pascal's anguish. But the other basic symmetry to note here is Borges' history of the metaphor. Not only paradoxes are found throughout this collection, but also various listings of ideas or themes or images which though diverse in origin and detail are essentially the same. In "The Flower of Coleridge" the coincidence of Valιry's, Emerson's, and Shelley's conceptions of all literature as the product of one Author seems itself to bear out that conception. At the beginning of the essay on Hawthorne, Borges again briefly traces the history of a metaphor — the likening of our dreams to a theatrical performance — and adds that true metaphors cannot be invented, since they have always existed. Such "avatars" point beyond the flux and diversity of history to a realm of eternal archetypes, which, though limited in number, "can be all things for all people, like the Apostle." While the paradox upsets our common notions of reality and suggests that irreducible elements are actually one, recurrence negates history and the separateness of individuals. Of course, this too is a paradox, as "New Refutation of Time" shows: time must exist in order to provide the successive identities with which it is to be "refuted." The two symmetries noted above, if we pursue their implications far enough, finally coalesce, with something of the same dizzying sense, so frequent in Borges' stories, of infinite permutations lurking at every turn. Both are uses of what he calls a pantheist extension of the principle of identity — God is all things: a suitably heterogeneous selection of these may allude to Totality — which has, as he notes in the essay on Whitman, unlimited rhetorical possibilities.

Jorge Luis Borges

Who is Gloria Estefan today? I'm very fulfilled as a woman. I've been able to have a wonderful family life, a fantastic career. I have a lot of good friends around me. My family has been my grounding point, and rooted me deeply to the earth. . . I'm very happy. I've done everything I ever wanted to do. The key to me was -- I told my husband when we were in our 20s -- I'm going to work really hard, so one day I won't have to work so hard. And to me what that was, was having choices. And I do have choices now -- and I have take full advantage of that. It's important for me now to be here for my little girl [Emily, age 12]. My son is full grown -- and I know have quickly that goes. So, I'm balancing being a mother -- which to me is the most important role I have on this earth -- and still being creative, writing -- which is what I love to do. So, I've been able to branch out into not just writing songs like you have heard through the years -- but writing children's books, writing a screenplay. But at my core that's what I am: a writer. And that's what I enjoy doing behind the scenes: writing the songs for albums, recording it. And that's why you have seen me take more of a back seat to being the center of attention, and being out on tour and doing that kind of thing. I've stepped up a lot of my charity work. This year, the five concerts I did were all for charity: different ones and my own foundation. So, that's becoming a bigger and bigger part of my life -- as I wanted it to be. And [I keep] just growing and evolving.

Gloria Estefan

It is the social issues which unremittingly demand that I make a responsible personal effort and which also lay increasing claims on my physical and mental powers. For me, the moral difficulties lie in the continual pressure brought to bear on my friends and immediate family, pressure which is not directed against me personally but which at the same time is all around me. I have written about this on many occasions but, sad to report, all that I said before applies equally today. I am no professional politician — which is perhaps why I am continually obsessed by the question as to the purpose served by the work done by my friends and myself, as well as its final result. I tend to believe that only moral criteria, coupled with mental objectivity, can serve as a sort of compass in the cross-currents of these complex problems.

Andrei Sakharov

[By 1939] Simone Weil had developed a social and political awareness which it took the war and the German occupation to awaken in many French intellectuals and beyond which many of them, including Sartre, have never progressed.

Simone Weil
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