The OF Blog: Author Spotlight: Jorge Luis Borges

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Author Spotlight: Jorge Luis Borges


Time permitting, over the next few months I'm going to write short reviews of several books by Argentine writer, poet, and critic Jorge Luis Borges. Borges is one of my favorite authors and there are so many facets to his writing (and personality) that English-language readers rarely get to see in the relatively few books of his that have been translated so far into English.

While I will eventually cover his more well-known works (Ficciónes, The Aleph, and The Book of Sand, to give them their English titles), I plan on starting with a couple of works that rarely get much mention in discussions of Borges' writings: Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi (a satire of crime fiction) and his poetic oeuvre. From there, it'll be a mixture of his latter writings and his non-fiction criticisms, before I eventually return to re-reading his most famous story collections.

Last year, I wrote a short piece on his last story collection before his death, Shakespeare's Memory, so instead of writing another one on that, consider it the first of many such reviews to come.

7 comments:

Jen said...

do you have any recommendations for a complete borges noob? you can find a list of books translated in romanian here: http://www.polirom.ro/catalog/autori/borges-jorge-luis/ i'm sure you can figure out what is what. i know a lot of people who love him, but... too many choices.

(and damn! why do they insist in publishing hardcovers and making them so expensive?! but oh well, my hatred of hc is for another day...)

D said...

Cartea de nisip [ The Book of Sand ] is a good place to start as any.
I also recommend Aleph, the story and collection, but no matter which collection of stories you pick you won't make a mistake.

Larry said...

Actually Jen, looking at that link, it seems the editors changed the titles quite a bit. I know the US editions often do not correspond to the original Argentinian editions, but d's suggestion below is a good one, as El libro de la arena is an excellent latter collection of his from 1975.

Anonymous said...

I've never read any Borges, any reccomendation on where to start?

Larry said...

Anon,

Most anywhere is a good starting place. If you're an English speaker, I usually suggest the omnibus Collected Fictions, which for $15-20 gives you translations of all of Borges' short stories written by himself alone. Sadly, there are a few volumes of collaborative efforts (usually with Adolfo Bioy Casares, himself an excellent author in his own right) that aren't in print anymore in English translation. Then there's the poetry, which I'll blog about in the next few days, as well as many books of literary criticism that Borges wrote that are worth reading.

Liviu said...

In the Romanian language there is a 2 volume collected works by Borges published in the late 90's which contains pretty much what the English fiction collected book contains - and a little extra non-fiction. In the meantime there may have been published volumes 3 and 4 dealing with Borges non-fiction, most likely analogous with the English collected non-fiction volume, but I am not sure.

Larry said...

Interesting. Seems that each country/language publishes Borges in its own format, regardless of how Borges originally published them.

 
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