Postmodern Theories and Texts
John Barth
"By 'exhaustion' I don't mean anything so tired as the subject of physical, moral, or intellectual decadence, only the used-upness of certain forms or the felt exhaustion of certain possibilities--by no means necessarily a cause for despair. (64)
  [Borges: "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"]
. . . like all of Borges's work, it illustrates in other of its aspects my subject: how an artist may paradoxically turn the felt ultimacies of our time into material and means for his work -- paradoxically, because by doing so he transcends what had appeared to be his refutation (71).  . . .novels which imitate the form of the Novel, by an author who imitates the role of Author (72). A labyrinth, after all, is a place in which, ideally, all the possibilities of choice (of direction, in this case) are embodied, and -- barring special dispensation like Theseus's -- must be exhausted before one reaches the heart.