Jorge Luis Borges

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Jorge Luis Borges

#1  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Mar 01, 2012 4:40 am

I haven't read anything by this acclaimed author. Recommendations?
"The vanity of teaching often tempts a man to forget that he is a blockhead." —Lord Halifax
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#2  Postby logical bob » Mar 01, 2012 7:20 am

How about a short story called On Exactitude in Science?

… In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.


That's the whole thing, so now you have read something by Borges.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#3  Postby Zwaarddijk » Mar 01, 2012 9:49 am

Tlön, Uqbar, orbius tertius or whatever it's name is is quite fascinating.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#4  Postby stalidon » Mar 01, 2012 9:07 pm

El Aleph, the book, is purported to be his masterpiece. Haven't read it yet, but you can find it in almost all bookshops around here in Argentina.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#5  Postby Hollis » Mar 01, 2012 9:26 pm

Ficciónes, El Informe de Brodie.
Monotheism is easily the greatest disaster to befall the human race. ~ Gore Vidal

The art of writing is mysterious, the opinions we hold are ephemeral... ~ Jorge Luis Borges
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#6  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Mar 01, 2012 10:23 pm

logical bob wrote:How about a short story called On Exactitude in Science?

… In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.


That's the whole thing, so now you have read something by Borges.


TL; DR!

J/K :mrgreen:

I took this out from the library today:

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It appears fairly comprehensive. I shall start with Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, as recommended by Zwaarddijk.

El Aleph, which stalidon mentioned, is a book of short stories included in this compendium, as are Fictions and Brodie's Report, Hollis' picks.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#7  Postby orpheus » Mar 02, 2012 1:29 am

Yes, I have the hardcover of that one. It contains all his fictions, I think. These are quite definitely "fictions", not short stories (although they're short story length). They're so utterly unlike anything else; he really invented this genre himself. One of the finest and most thought-provoking writers I know.

You might not want to start at the beginning. As I recall, that book is organized in chronological order, and his earlier works are, on the whole, less good. (Though I'll take Borges at his worst over most other authors at their best.)

Some of my favorites:
Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
The Library of Babel
The Garden of Forking Paths
The Aleph
The Book of Sand
The Zahir
Funes, his Memory
(though I'll never forgive this translator for not using the unforgettable title of his other English translator: Funes the Memorious)

And for fun, Borges and I
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—James Joyce
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#8  Postby ChasM » Mar 02, 2012 5:09 am

Ficciónes and/or Labyrinths (some duplicate stories if you buy both volumes, but I like their covers). Mindbending baroque style. Tlon, Babel, Funes and Pierre Menard are favorites. Read a few of Kafka's Parables and Paradoxes for dessert.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#9  Postby orpheus » Mar 02, 2012 5:18 am

Oh, also The Lottery in Babylon is quite good. I remember reading Shirley Jackson's The Lottery as a kid, and I thought it hokey; I guessed the ending pretty early. But Borges's "Lottery" is a different animal altogether. It's such a deliberate picture of a laborious paralysis; I actually find it quite creepy.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#10  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Apr 10, 2012 5:09 pm

Just reporting in to say that these stories are terrific. So imaginative. There's really nothing else out there quite like this stuff—it reminds me sometimes of Lovecraft, and at other times of Umberto Eco (who must surely have been greatly influenced by Borges). But mostly it eludes any kind of comparison altogether. And thanks for your recommendations. Various of them have all proved excellent: Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, The Library of Babel, and Brodie's Report.

The Immortal, I think, might be my favorite. Some of them, like The Gospel According to Mark (about a sophisticated unbeliever who tries reading the bible to desperate backwoods illiterates) are pretty hilarious: a morbid reminder that reading religious books as fiction takes a little more intellectual R&D than is possible for some humans. After all, somebody has to make the rains come. :mrgreen:

I returned the book to the library but I plan on ordering my own copy. Right now, though, I'm reading King Jesus by Robert Graves, so I'll have to get back to Borges later.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#11  Postby lobawad » May 25, 2012 9:35 pm

Thanks for reminding me to hit the library and score me some Borges to read again. I don't think it would be outside the realm of possibility for me to describe Borges after a few drinks (I, not he) as Kafka for grownups. That would be bullshit of course, but for me, personally, there is something of a truth about it.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#12  Postby Wiðercora » May 26, 2012 8:20 am

I have Ficciones on my shelf. It was hidden behind a large mug, I'd forgotten I'd bought it.

Wait - why is this thread in 'Games'?
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#13  Postby orpheus » May 26, 2012 12:54 pm

Wiðercora wrote:I have Ficciones on my shelf. It was hidden behind a large mug, I'd forgotten I'd bought it.

Wait - why is this thread in 'Games'?


Not sure. But for Borges it somehow seems appropriate.

When my wife and I got married we each had a copy of Labyrinths. But when we set up our bookcases, we found that a third copy had mysteriously appeared. We have no idea how. But of course it would be that book. Delicious. Borges himself would have liked that, I think.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

#14  Postby ChasM » May 26, 2012 10:32 pm

lobawad wrote:I don't think it would be outside the realm of possibility for me to describe Borges after a few drinks (I, not he) as Kafka for grownups. That would be bullshit of course, but for me, personally, there is something of a truth about it.

:eh: Borges = Kafka for grownups? I know The Castle is just a silly ol' bedtime story that I read to my kid before she goes off to sleep, but...
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