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Norbert Blei. Translated from the Spanish by Jennifer Acker. Borges knows more. We have a poet—. On the contrary, it can be said that it is exactly the same as poetry, although the syntax is from two distinct places, and that philosophy deserves a place in the order of aesthetics.
My father showed me his library, which seemed to me infinite, and he told me to read whatever I wanted, but that if something bored me I should put it down immediately—that is, the opposite of obligatory reading. Reading has to be a happiness, and philosophy gives us happiness, and that is the contemplation of a problem.
The world continues to be more enigmatic, more enchanting. For me reading and writing are two equally pleasurable activities. For me writing is a necessity.
When I was young, I thought about what I considered the heroic life of my military elders, a life that had been rich, and mine—the life of a reader—seemed to me a poor life. The life of a reader can be as rich as any other life. Suppose Alonso Quijano had never left his library, or bookstore, as Cervantes called it, I believe that his life reading would have been as rich as when he conceived the project of turning himself into Quixote.
For him the latter life was more real, for me reading about him has been one of the most vivid experiences of my life. And since I have committed the indecency of turning eighty-five, I confirm without melancholy that my memory is full of verses and full of books.
My memory is full of quotes in many languages, and I think, returning to philosophy, that we are not enriched by its solutions, as these solutions are doubtful, they are arbitrary, but philosophy does enrich us by demonstrating that the world is more mysterious than we thought. Now other questions, and I hope I can answer them with fewer digressions, more concretely.
I was timid when I was young. MARI: Among these enigmas, one is the enigma of truth, the other is the enigma of death. What do I have to do with all of this? You think it matters what happens to me now, if tomorrow I will have disappeared?
I hope to be totally forgotten. I believe that this is death. But being younger, I would prefer not to remember this one in the other. His output includes short stories, essays, poetry, literary criticism, and translations. Wells, Rudyard Kipling, H. Lovecraft, Arthur Schopenhauer, G. Chesterton, Leopoldo Lugones, and R. He died in of pulmonary congestion in the same house in Serrano Street, Buenos Aires, where his grandson Jorge Luis Borges was born.
In this home, both Spanish and English were spoken and from earliest childhood Borges was bilingual, reading Shakespeare, in English, at the age of He grew up in the then somewhat poor neighborhood of Palermo, in a large house equipped with an extensive English library. The family name Borges may have been derived from the English surnames Burroughs or Burgess, analogous to the transformation of the surname Evans into Ibanez. Jorge Guillermo Borges was forced into early retirement from the legal profession owing to the same failing eyesight that would eventually afflict his son, and in , the family moved to Geneva.
Borges senior was treated by a Geneva eye specialist, while his son and daughter Norah attended school. There Borges junior learned French, initially with some difficulties, and taught himself German. His family was comfortably wealthy, but not quite wealthy enough to live in downtown Buenos Aires. Instead, they lived in the then suburb of Palermo, famous for its knife-fights, where urban space gave way to the countryside.
In the Borges family went to Europe and stayed until because of World War I and domestic unrest in neutral Argentina. In Spain, Borges became a member of the avant-garde Ultraist literary movement anti-Modernism, which ended in with the cessation of the journal Ultra. In , Borges returned with his family to Buenos Aires where he imported the doctrine of Ultraism and launched his career as a writer by publishing poems and essays in literary journals in the Criollismo style.
Later in life Borges would come to regret some of these early publications, attempting to purchase all known copies to ensure their destruction. To that point, Paul de Man has written:.
Rather, they are the consistent expansion of a purely poetic consciousness to its furthest limits. Ocampo herself introduced Borges to Adolfo Bioy Casares, another well-known figure of Argentine literature, who was to become a frequent collaborator and dear friend.
Together they wrote a number of works, some using pseudonyms H. Bustos Domecq , including a parody detective series and fantasy stories.
This involved two types of pieces. The first lay somewhere between non-fictional essays and short stories, using fictional techniques to tell essentially true stories. The second consisted of literary forgeries, which Borges initially passed off as translations of passages from famous but seldom-read works. His fellow employees forbade Borges from cataloging more than books per day, a task which would take him about one hour. The rest of his time he spent in the basement of the library, writing articles and short stories.
He uses this example to illustrate how his dialoguing with universal existential concerns was just as Argentine as writing about gauchos and tangos both of which he also did. During Christmas Eve , Borges suffered a severe head wound: during treatment, he nearly died of septicemia. While recovering from the accident, he began tinkering with a new style of writing, for which he would become famous.
In this story, he examined the relationship between father and son and the nature of authorship. Without a job, his vision beginning to fade due to hereditary retinal detachment, and unable to fully support himself as a writer, Borges began a new career as a public lecturer. Despite a certain degree of political persecution, he was reasonably successful, and became an increasingly public figure, obtaining appointments as President of the Argentine Society of Writers, and as Professor of English and American Literature at the Argentine Association of English Culture.
Around this time, Borges also began writing screenplays. In , and after the initiative of Ocampo, the new anti-Peronist military government appointed him head of the National Library. By that time, he had become completely blind, like one of his best known predecessors, Paul Groussac for whom Borges wrote an obituary. Neither coincidence nor the irony escaped Borges and he commented on them in his work:.
Let neither tear nor reproach besmirch this declaration of the mastery of God who, with magnificent irony, granted me both the gift of books and the night. The following year he received the National Prize for Literature from the University of Cuyo, the first of many honorary doctorates.
From to , Borges also held a position as a professor of literature at the University of Buenos Aires, while frequently holding temporary appointments at other universities. When he was not able to read and write anymore he never learned the Braille system , his mother, to whom he had always been devoted, became his personal secretary. Though several other Borges translations appeared in literary magazines and anthologies during the s, his international fame dates from the early s.
While Beckett was well-known and respected in the English-speaking world, and Borges at this time remained unknown and untranslated, English-speaking readers became curious about the other recipient of the prize. The Italian government named Borges Commendatore; and the University of Texas at Austin appointed him for one year to the Tinker chair.
This led to his first lecture tour in the United States. The first translations of his work into English followed in , with lecture tours in Europe, and in subsequent years the Andean region of South America. In , Borges began a five-year period of collaboration with the American translator Norman Thomas di Giovanni, thanks to whom he became better known in the English-speaking world.
He also lectured prolifically. Many of these lectures were anthologized in volumes such as Siete noches Seven Nights and Nueve ensayos dantescos Nine Dantesque Essays. It was commonly believed that his mother, who was 90, and anticipating her own death, wanted to find someone to care for her blind son.
The marriage lasted less than three years. After a legal separation, Borges moved back in with his mother, with whom he lived until her death at age Thereafter, he lived alone in the small flat he had shared with her, cared for by Fanny, their housekeeper of many decades. After , the year his mother died, Borges began to travel all over the world, up to the time of his death.
A few months before his death, via an attorney in Paraguay, he married Kodama. After years of legal wrangling about the legality of the marriage, Kodama, as sole inheritor of a significant annual income, has control over his works. Though reputed to be a perennial contender, Borges was never awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Especially in the s, when he was clearly growing old and infirm, this became a glaring omission. It was speculated that he was considered unfit to receive the award for his political views. He did, however, receive the Jerusalem Prize in , awarded to writers who deal with themes of human freedom and society.
In addition to his short stories for which he is most famous, Borges also wrote poetry, essays, several screenplays, and a considerable volume of literary criticism, prologues, and reviews, edited numerous anthologies, and was a prominent translator of English-, French- and German-language literature into Spanish and of Old English and Norse works as well.
Since Borges lived through most of the 20th century, he was rooted in the Modernist period of culture and literature, especially Symbolism. Like his contemporary Vladimir Nabokov and the older James Joyce, he combined an interest in his native land with far broader perspectives.
He also shared their multilingualism and their playfulness with language, but while Nabokov and Joyce tended—as their lives went on—toward progressively larger works, Borges remained a miniaturist.
Many of his most popular stories concern the nature of time, infinity, mirrors, labyrinths, reality, philosophy, and identity. The same Borges told more and less realistic stories of South American life, stories of folk heroes, streetfighters, soldiers, gauchos, detectives, historical figures.
He mixed the real and the fantastic: fact with fiction. On several occasions, especially early in his career, these mixtures sometimes crossed the line into the realm of hoax or literary forgery. His non-fiction also explores many of the themes found in his fiction. Bustos Domecq. Borges composed poetry throughout his life.
As his eyesight waned it came and went, with a struggle between advancing age and advances in eye surgery , he increasingly focused on writing poetry, since he could memorize an entire work in progress.
His poems embrace the same wide range of interests as his fiction, along with issues that emerge in his critical works and translations, and from more personal musings.
This breadth of interest can be found in his fiction, nonfiction, and poems. As already mentioned, Borges was notable as a translator.
The Garden of Forking Paths
The story's theme has been said to foreshadow the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Borges's vision of "forking paths" has been cited as inspiration by numerous new media scholars, in particular within the field of hypertext fiction. As the story begins, Doctor Tsun has realized that an MI5 agent called Captain Richard Madden is pursuing him, has entered the apartment of his handler Viktor Runeberg, and has either captured or killed him. Doctor Tsun is certain that his own arrest is next. He has just discovered the location of a new British artillery park and wishes to convey that knowledge to Berlin before he is captured. He at last hits upon a plan to achieve this.
Jardin Senderos Bifurcan by Borges Jorge Luis
El jardin de los senderos que se bifurcan