Beyond the Basics
In the preface to his book The Order of Things, the philosopher Michel Foucault credits Georges Luis Borges for inspiring his research with a passage about “a certain encyclopaedia” in which it is written that “animals are divided into: (a) belonging to the Emperor, (b) embalmed, (c) tame, (d) suckling pigs, (e) sirens, (f) fabulous, (g) stray dogs, (h) included in the present classification, (i) frenzied, (j) innumerable, (k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush, (l) et cetera, (m) having just broken the water pitcher, (n) that from a long way off look like flies.” This supposed Chinese Encyclopedia cited by Borges was called the Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge.
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