Since its first publication in 1981, Borges and His Fiction has introduced the life and works of this Argentinian master-writer to an entire generation of students, high school and college teachers, and general readers. Responding to a steady demand for an updated edition, Gene H. Bell-Villada has significantly revised and expanded the book to incorporate new information that has become available since Borges’ death in 1986. In particular, he offers a more complete look at Borges and Peronism and Borges’ personal experiences of love and mysticism, as well as revised interpretations of some of Borges’ stories. As before, the book is divided into three sections that examine Borges’ life, his stories in Ficciones and El Aleph, and his place in world literature.
When Alejandro Luque receives a book of photographs taken in Sicily by the Argentinian writer, essayist, and poet Luis Borges, he decides to trace the writer’s journey, setting off with a group of friends on his own Sicilian odyssey. Meticulously identifying the location of each photograph, Luque uses Borges’s pictures to imagine the range of emotions that the renowned writer felt as he experienced the same views. As his hunt for the locations of the original photographs unfolds, Luque chronicles the ways in which he begins to fall in love with both the island itself and with his friend, Ro.
This winding journey features literati both past and present, indigenous and foreign. These characters live alongside Luque’s own comments and observations in a narrative that is rich in historical and personal detail. The writer who inspired this great journey, Borges himself, becomes a character in this narrative that is infused with extracts and reflections from his essays and poetry. Borges in Sicily acts as a travel diary, a guide to the most fascinating places in Sicily, a recounting of Borges’s journey around the island, and a deeply poetic story of Luque’s own adventures. The book also includes twenty-three photographs from the renowned Magnum photographer Ferdinando Scianna, and it won the 1st Premio International del Libros de Viajes.
In Fiction Refracts Science, Allen Thiher demonstrates that major modernists, in their concern with the sciences, were strongly influenced by them. He argues that there are direct relations between science and the formal shape of fiction developed by some of the most important modernists. Especially relevant for his arguments are modern cosmology and quantum mechanics, as well as examples from mathematics, biology, and medicine.
Thiher begins his study by examining the question about the two cultures—scientific and humanistic—that is often invoked in discussions of their relationship. He outlines the essential context for understanding how science was perceived by modernist novelists. This background included Pascalian and Newtonian cosmology, Darwinism, and the questions of epistemology ushered in by relativity theory and quantum mechanics. He then devotes a chapter each to Musil, Proust, Kafka, and Joyce in which he focuses on epistemology and on ideas about law in science and literature.
Thiher goes on to describe the subsequent development of modernist fiction. He proposes that, after Joyce, thought experiments dominated the relations between science and later modernist fiction, as exemplified by Woolf, Faulkner, and Borges. In conclusion Thiher addresses the ongoing development of these experiments in postmodern fiction and discusses the fortunes of positivism in postmodern fiction.
Written in a clear and accessible style, Fiction Refracts Science will be of interest to specialists in literary modernism, science studies, and the history of science, as well as to scientists themselves.
In Jorge Luis Borges's finely wrought, fantastic stories, so filigreed with strange allusions, critics have consistently found little to relate to the external world, to history--in short, to reality. Out of Context corrects this shortsighted view and reveals the very real basis of the Argentine master's purported "irreality." By providing the historical context for some of the writer's best-loved and least understood works, this study also gives us a new sense of Borges's place within the context of contemporary literature. Through a detailed examination of seven stories, Daniel Balderston shows how Borges's historical and political references, so often misread as part of a literary game, actually open up a much more complex reality than the one made explicit to the reader. Working in tension with the fantastic aspects of Borges' work, these precise references to realities outside the text illuminate relations between literature and history as well as the author's particular understanding of both. In Borges's perspective as it is revealed here, history emerges as an "other" only partially recoverable in narrative form. From what can be recovered, Balderston is able to clarify Borges's position on historical episodes and trends such as colonialism, the Peronist movement, "Western culture," militarism, and the Spanish invasion of the Americas. Informed by a wide reading of history, a sympathetic use of critical theory, and a deep understanding of Borges's work, this iconoclastic study provides a radical new approach to one of the most celebrated and—until now—hermetic authors of our time.
Signs of Borges
Sylvia Molloy Duke University Press, 1994 Library of Congress PQ7797.B635Z78413 1994 | Dewey Decimal 868
Available for the first time in English, Signs of Borges is widely regarded as the best single book on the work of Jorge Luis Borges. With a critical sensibility informed by Barthes, Lacan, Foucault, Blanchot, and the entire body of Borges scholarship, Sylvia Molloy explores the problem of meaning in Borges's work by remaining true to the uncanniness that is its foundation. Borges's sustained practice of the uncanny gives rise in his texts to endless tensions between illusion and meaning, and to the competing desires for fragmentation, dispersal, and stability. Molloy traces the movement of Borges's own writing by repeatedly spanning the boundaries of genre and cutting across the conventional separations of narrative, lyric and essay, fact and fiction. Rather than seeking to resolve the tensions and conflicts, she preserves and develops them, thereby maintaining the potential of these texts to disturb. At the site of these tensions, Molloy locates the play between meaning and meaninglessness that occurs in Borges's texts. From this vantage point his strategies of deception, recourse to simulacra, inquisitorial urge to unsettle binarism, and distrust of the permanent--all that makes Borges Borges--are examined with unmatched skill and acuity. Elegantly written and translated, Signs of Borges presents a remarkable and dynamic view of one of the most international and compelling writers of this century. It will be of great interest to all students of twentieth-century literature, particularly to students of Latin American literature.
Using the works of Dante as its critical focus, María Rosa Menocal’s original and imaginative study examines questions of truth, ideology, and reality in poetry as they occur in a series of texts and in the relationship between those texts across time. In each case, Menocal raises theoretical issues of critical importance to contemporary debates regarding the structure of literary relations. Beginning with a reading of La vita nuova and the Commedia, this literary history of poetic literary histories explores the Dantean poetic experience as it has been limited and rewritten by later poets, particularly Petrarch, Boccaccio, Borges, Pound, Eliot, and the all but forgotten Silvio Pellico, author of Le mie prigioni. By blending discussions of Dante’s own marriage of literature and literary history with those investigations into the imitative qualities of later works, Writing in Dante’s Cult of Truth presents an intertextual literary history, one which seeks to maintain the uncanniness of literature, while imagining history to be neither linear nor clearly distinguishable from literature itself.