Arts Literature Authors B Borges, Jorge Luis
Argentine poet, essayist, and short-story writer whose tales of fantasy and dreamworlds are classics of the 20th-century world literature. Borges was profoundly influenced by European culture, English literature, and such thinkers as Berkeley, who argued that there is no material substance; the sensible world consists only of ideas, which exists for so long as they are perceived. Most of Borges's tales embrace universal themes - the often recurring circular labyrinth can be seen as a metaphor of life or a riddle which theme is time.
Borges's fictional universe was born from his vast and esoteric readings in literature, philosophy, and theology. He sees man's search for meaning in an infinite universe as a fruitless effort. In the universe of energy, mass, and speed of light, Borges considers the central riddle time, not space. "He believed in an infinite series of times, in a growing, dizzying net of divergent, convergent and parallel times. This network of times which approached one another, forked, broke off, or were unaware of one another for centuries, embraces all possibilities of time." The theological speculations of Gnosticism and the Cabala gave ideas for many of his plots. Borges has told in an interview that when he was a boy, he found an engraving of the seven wonders of the world, one of which portrayed a circular labyrinth. It frightened him and the maze has been one of his recurrent nightmares. (from 'The Garden of Forking Paths') Another recurrent image is the mirror, which reflects different identities. The idea for the short story 'Borges y yo' was came from the double who was looking at him - the alter ego, the other I. There is a well-known man, who writes his stories, a name in some biographical dictionary, and the real person. "So my life is a point-counterpoint, a kind of fugue, and a falling away - and everything winds up being lost to me, and everything falls into oblivion, or into the hands of the other man."
In 'La Biblioteca de Babel' the symmetrically structured library represents the universe as it is conceived by rational man, and the library's illegible books refers to man's ignorance. In 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' Borges invented a whole other universe based on an imaginary encyclopedia. (c)

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Borges, a Blind Writer with Insight
1971 article interviewing the Argentinian author. [Site requires free registration to access.]
Borges: A Life
The first chapter of James' Woodall's biography of Borges. [Site requires free registration to access.]
Borges: a Writer on the Edge
J. L. Borges Center for Studies & Documentation. An article by Beatriz Sarlo.
The Brass Plaque Said 'Borges'
An excerpt from Paul Theroux's book The Old Patagonian Express, describing the author's encounter with Borges in Argentina. [Site requires free registration to access.]
The Guardian: Jorge Luis Borges
Profile, articles, reviews and links.
Meeting Borges
An essay by Alfred Kazin. [Site requires free registration to access.]
Preliminary Guide to Borges
Research information prepared by Harry Vélez Quiñones.
The Secret Books
A photographic tribute to Borges.
Webmaster Borges
Salon article on the Library of Babel as metaphor for the Internet.
A Writer on the Edge
An article, by Beatriz Sarlo. Concludes, in short, that there is no writer in Argentine literature more Argentine than Jorge Luis Borges.

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October 25, 2015 at 10:51:38 UTC
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