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This article is taken from PN Review 147, Volume 29 Number 1, September - October 2002.

From a Work in Prospect Christopher Middleton

These four texts come from a series of forty, each portraying an aspect of a roving imaginary economist called Blaff. Several texts are extracted from children's memories. Most are quite short, 500 words or less. Blaff's antecedents include, e.g., Maldoror, M. Teste, Bibi la Bibiste, Plume (H. Michaux), Lettau's Manig, Cortazar's Lucas.


A Bad Egg

Does the world, we ask, weigh as much as it says in this book?

Blaff isn't sure. Give or take a few billion tons, probably it might, he says. But think of all the stuff we extract from it and blow away, think of all the stuff we construct on it. I wonder if the weight is stable, or if, time after time, a spirit of some kind lightens the world.

So it's round and rolling, we say, and yet it's nobody's toy, you said, but does it really have a boundary?

Blaff tells us that he does see a boundary round the world, but that he hasn't decided if it isn't the much more cramping boundary of his mind.

But then, we ask, won't we too talk like that one day? And Blaff doesn't answer. He lights a little candle and together we watch it blaze.

Another time he says: If the world has a boundary beyond which there's only space, beginning with atmosphere, then my boundary cannot possibly meet it or fit it. Continuous as I might ...


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