Did Pierre Menard author the Quixote?

In a short story by Jorge Luis Borges named Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote the author recites a fictitious inventory of works belonging to the now deceased novelist Pierre Menard. Of greatest importance amongst these works, according to the narrator, is an uncompleted piece that “consists of the ninth and thirty-eighth chapters of the first part of Don Quixote and a fragment of chapter twenty-two.” It was the aim of Pierre Menard, in constructing this particular work, to write the Quixote not by simply writing out passages from the existing text but by creating a new work that just so happens to coincide with the original text.

The result of his painstaking efforts (Menard learnt to write in archaic Spanish style and spent hundreds of hours constructing unusable passages) is considered a more subtle work than the original by Miguel de Cervantes. Continue reading “Did Pierre Menard author the Quixote?”