In his Around the Day in Eighty Worlds, Julio Cortázar asks himself why a great author like Lezama Lima has not been recognised and acknowledged as such. Among other
reasons, he notices that the editions of his works are so full of typos, “that it is no wonder, that the school’s teacher —who lives in each of us— takes offense at them”*.
Readers —continues Cortázar— use his insistent transcription errors as alibi, as part of a defense-mechanism to remain on this side of Lezama, without having to take his visions seriously.
A few pages later, with perhaps some implicit sexism, Cortázar elaborates further on the sort of engagement required by great books comparing it with Jacob’s wrestling with the angel (Genesis 32:22-32). I am sorry to admit that I could not find the book neither in Spanish nor in English but that I enjoyed the text passage so much that I will have to quote it in German nonetheless:
In Rayuela habe ich das Leser-Weibchen definiert und attackiert, weil es den echten liebevollen Ringens mit einem Werk, das für den Leser wie der
Engel für Jakob ist, nicht fähig ist.
*my translation, C’s style is much more evocative.