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Borges and Perec on Classifying Animals

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In his short story The Analytical Language of John Wilkins (El idioma analítico de John Wilkins) Jorge Luis Borges famously referred to a certain Chinese encyclopedia called the "Heavenly Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge" whose discovery he attributed to a Dr. Franz Kuhn in which animals were divided into:

(a) those that belong to the emperor
(b) embalmed ones
(c) those that are trained
(d) suckling pigs
(e) mermaids
(f) fabulous ones
(g) stray dogs
(h) those that are included in this classification
(i) those that tremble as if they were mad
(j) innumerable ones
(k) those drawn with a very fine camel's-hair brush
(l) etcetera
(m) those that have just broken the flower vase
(n) those that at a distance resemble flies

It is a passage that is highly popular among philosophers. Michel Foucault for instance refers to it in the preface to The Order of Things.

In Penser/Classer Georges Perec observes that "an almost equally mind-boggling enumeration might be extracted simply enough from government documents that could hardly be more official":

(a) animals on which bets are laid
(b) animals the hunting of which is banned between 1 April and 15 September
(c) stranded whales
(d) animals whose entry within national frontiers is subject to quarantine
(e) animals held in joint ownership
(f) stuffed animals
(g) etcetera (this etc. is not at all surprising in itself; it's only where it comes in the list that makes it seem odd)
(h) animals liable to transmit leprosy
(i) guide-dogs for the blind
(j) animals in receipt of significant legacies
(k) animals able to be transported in the cabin
(l) stray dogs without collars
(m) donkeys
(n) mares assumed to be with foal

Georges Perec, Think/Classify, In: Species of Spaces and Other Pieces, transl. John Sturrock, Penguin 2008, p. 196-197.

With reference to Borges's well-known love of allusions to erudition Perec notes that one may question whether the quotation is genuine and whether it isn't first and foremost an effect of art. The same can, of course, be said of Perec's own list.