Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Classification of Animals

When I consider my recollections of various animals, I am inevitably re- minded of the classification of animals that Borges in his essay "The Ana- lytical Language of John Wilkins" attributes to a certain Dr. Franz Kuhn who in turn attributes it to a certain Chinese encyclopedia entitled Celes- tial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge where it is written that animals are 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) others,
(m) those that have just broken a flower vase,
(n) those that resemble flies from a distance.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this taxinomy and a reference to Borges is also found in the foreword of the book "les mots et les choses" (the words and the things) by Michel Foucault, which is all about how things are sorted and categorized, and how that changed in the last 400 years.
peter

2:06 AM  

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