Borges' Short Stories: A Reader's Guide by Rex Butler

By Rex Butler

The Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges is definitely one of many defining voices of our age. because the moment global struggle, his paintings has had an incredible effect on generations of writers, philosophers, and literary theorists. This advisor deals an in depth analyzing of ten of Borges' maximum brief tales, looking to convey out the common sense that has made his paintings so influential. the most part of the consultant deals an research of such keyword phrases in Borges' paintings as "labyrinth" and the "infinite" and analyzes Borges' specific narrative options.

This advisor additionally units Borges' paintings inside its wider literary, cultural and highbrow contexts and offers an annotated consultant to either scholarly and renowned responses to his paintings to help additional reading.


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Additional info for Borges' Short Stories: A Reader's Guide

Sample text

It is as though that original set of events is doubled by another virtual possibility, so that at the same time as we move forward through the narrative another is opening up, revealing the truth behind how we got there. It is not some actual series of alternatives that confronts us at any moment, for the narrative can move forward only by making decisions and determining events in the only way it can. It is rather that every moment must be understood as standing in for another completely different explanation of events, which it precisely does not choose.

It is said in a well-known and often-repeated anecdote – first told by Borges himself – that it was written after Borges had spent several weeks in hospital hovering between life and death after contracting septicaemia, and that he wanted to see if he had recovered by trying to write something he had never written before: a short story. In fact, Borges had already written the story ‘The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim’. 10 But there is, nevertheless, something inaugural about ‘Pierre Menard’. As many critics have pointed out, there is a certain identification made between Borges and the central character of his story.

Indeed, it might be suggested that the Immortal does not even do an infinite number of things before drinking from that second stream, because he would not then get around to doing so, and he could not therefore become immortal. We have here the same situation as in ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’, in which for all of the alternative possibilities thrown up by the labyrinth one of them must include the discovery of the labyrinth itself. As there, the condition of immortality in ‘The Immortal’ changes nothing.

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