Jorge Luis Borges

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Best Borges stories:
  1. "The Library of Babel" (1941)
  2. "The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim" (1941)
  3. "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" " (1941)
  4. "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" (1941)
  5. "Borges and I" (1960)
  6. "The Maker" (1960)
  7. "On Exactitude in Science" (1946)
  8. "The Aleph" (1949)
  9. "Funes the Memorius" (1944)
  10. "The Garden of Forking Paths" (1941)
  11. "The Zahir" (1949)
  12. "The Babylon Lottery" (1941)
  13. "Death and the Compass" (1944)
  14. "The Book of Sand" (1975)
  15. "The Gospel According to Mark" (1970)

Jorge Luis Borges' poetry Fervor De Buenos Aires (1923) introduces one of the fundamental themes of Borges' art: the streets of his city. It is not the megalopolis that fascinates Borges, it is the thick lattice of "calles" and of lives against the mighty machinations of the universe. Amanecer ("pero de nuevo el mundo se ha salvado") and Benares ("la ciudad que oprimio un follaje de estrellas") are perhaps the most lyrical examples. Lineas Que Pude Haber Escrito ("la corrupcion y el eco que seremos"... "arduas algebras de lo que no sabremos nunca") shows, instead, a philosophical and metaphorical quality that recalls symbolism and hermetic poets like Montale (with whom it also shares the fluent linguistic structure).

The same themes are explored with less success in Luna De Enfrente (1925), that looks more like a book of fiction.

El Hacedor (1960) returns Borges to poetry after many years of fiction and acts as a bridge bewtween the two formats. Some of the poems are just short stories, but some are worthy of Fervor's hallucinated chronicle of natural phenomena, as in Ajedrez ("en el oriente se encendio esta guerra"). His visionary style, that owes to William Blake and William Yeats, peaks with El Otro Tigre, one of his metaphysical masterpieces. Ariosto Y Los Arabes is no less successful and pays homage to one of his literary idols.

Suddenly, poetry became Borges' preferred medium. El Otro El Mismo (1964) contains another masterpiece, Limites ("si para todo hay termino y hay tasa/ y ultima vez y nunca mas y olvido/ quien nos dira de quien, en esta casa, sin saberlo, nos semos despedido?"), as well as Baltasar Gracian and The Golem, poems that elaborate on his obsessive passion for myths, symbols and puzzles. Shorter poems like Texas ("aqui tambien el mistico alfabeto/ de los astros") transfer Buenos Aires' magical universe in all the places of the world. The pessimistic and ironic closing of El Alquimista ("Dio, qaue sabe de alquimia, lo convierte en polvo, en nadie, en nada y en olvido") begins to show Borges' preocupation with death, that now transcends the magical phenomena of nature and becomes a much more personal experience.

Borges in the 1960s is a prolific poet, but not a good one. Para Las Seis Cuerdas (1965) and Elogio De La Sombra (1969) hardly contain any significant poems.

El Oro De Los Tigres (1972), on the other hand, has Cosas, one of his philosophical odes, and El Oro De Los Tigres, again in the Blake/Yeats tradition.

La Rosa Profunda (1975) shows a growing, autobiographical preoccupation with death in Soy ("soy eco, olvido, nada") and Un Ciego ("no se qual es la cara que me mira").

The same theme continues, bleaker and gloomier, in La Moneda de Hierro (1976), for examples in A Mi Padre ("nadie sabe de que manana el marmol es la llave") and No Eres Los Otros ("Tu materia es el tiempo, el incesante tiempo. Eres cada solitario istante"), and in Historia de La Noche (1977), for example in Ni Siquiera Soy Polvo ("Mi Dios, mi sonador, sigue sonandome")

La Cifra (1981) and Atlas (1984) are mediocre collections. It is fitting that his poetic career came to a close with Elegia de un Parque, on Los Conjurados (1985), which is an ode to the vanished civilizations to the past and our being them.

"Death and the Compass": a series of murders is created by the investigation that seeks to solve them. If the investigator had made different moves, the crimes would have been different. Reversal of cause and effect.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )