Argentinian Literature: Jorge Luis Borges
It is a well-known fact that Jorge Luis Borges is known as one of the greatest scholar of the 20th century in Literature. He published short essays, poems and stories. Most of these have been analyzed carefully many times and they transcend every kind of classification and exclude any kind of dogmatism.
He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on the 24th of August, 1899 and died on the 14th of June, 1986 at the age of 86.
His writings are hard to understand sometimes, but when you do understand them, you find many amazing things such as imaginary mathematics, narrative ethics, Utopian ethicsand even more. Borges honored our language and the universality of mind.
In his short stories he combined his interest of his motherland with much bigger interests. He shared his multilingualism with his pleasure to play with the Spanish language, even though he never wrote a novel, his other writings are prevalent of this fact.
His relationship with philosophy was truly creative. His expression of his philosophical theory is so clear that it appeals to the reader in sensory ways; the reader is able to perceive it, feel it, understand it, and absorb it. He appeals to our intuition before our conceptual reception.
In every sentence and each word of his stories, you can find many hidden messages and sub-messages that are part of original interpretations. Between his ideas you find not only his world of fantasy but also allusions to some scientific ideas. In many books of science you can find references to his work. One example is “El Jardin de senderos que se bifurcan” (The Garden of Forking Paths). In this work, Borges invents the ‘hypertext’ novel. He conceives of a “labyrinth that folds back upon itself in infinite regression”. Before the advent of the computer, Borges has managed to stir the minds of the readers to infinite possibilities, and forking paths. How people can create multiple paths (and hence universes) by the choices they make. The novel forced readers to choose their own path to the end. It was a maze in itself.
Some of his most well-known tales are: “El Aleph” (The Aleph); “Funes El Memorioso” (Funes the Memorious); “La Biblioteca de Babel” (The Library of Babel); “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”. Most of these were translated and published in English.
Perla Sasson-Henry, an associate professor in the department of Languages in the US Naval Academy, describes Borges as someone of the old world but with a futuristic vision.
He received important awards and distinctions from many colleges and governments in different countries. In 1961, he shared with Samuel Beckett the first ever Prix International given by the International Editors Congress. Since then, his reputation started to grow in all of the western world. He also received the Commendatore title from the Italian Government, the French Legion of Honor (in 1983), the Balzan prize, and the Cervantes among many others. His works were translated into more than 25 languages and taken to the movies and television.
In 1999 the Argentinean government issued series of coins in commemoration of the centenary of Borges.
Although he enjoyed writing poems, his narratives and essays were the ones that gave him his universal acknowledgement. His tales contain mostly riddles or powerful metaphysics metaphors.
Borges also wrote movie scripts and a large quantity of literary critics and forewords. He edited a lot of anthologies and he was a great English, French and also German translator. His blindness influenced a lot of his latest works. Among his intellectual interests you can find mythology, mathematics, theology and philosophy. His fiction is always deeply erudite and concise.
His works can be divided into periods. The first stage is avant-garde; Characterized because of the importance of the poem, free verse and metaphoric proliferation, the appeal to a Neo-Baroque and a nationalist literature that declares Argentinean Idiomatic independence. Some of his works related to this stage are: “Fervor de Buenos Aires”; “Luna de Enfrente” and “Cuaderno San Martin”. Some essays are: “Inquisiciones”; “El tamaño de mi esperanza”; “El idioma de los Argentinos” and “Evaristo Carriego”.
During 30 years, he inclined to the prose, in which he wrote the short essay related to literary readings and the called Fiction, which is not a real tale although its style is narrative and his reading is considered fictional. Fiction inclined to themes like the ghostly part of life, the mirror as a figure of mundane appearances; remoteness and unhappiness related to love relationships or even to the search of the name of names. This stage is related to the esthetics of Neo-Classics, related to some peasant-like environment he was treated to while young. Here we’ve got: “Discusion”; “Historia de la eternidad”; “Otras Inquisiciones”; “Historia universal de la infamia”; “Ficciones”; “El Aleph”.
Most of his most popular stories have the nature of time, the infinite, the mirrors, labyrinths, reality and identity, while some others are related to fantasy.
With an unusual use of words, his works motivate a renovation of the narrative language, to stand out the fictional nature of words and to unite different sources and cultures among the irony and parody.
Written by Alejandra Muzzio