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Borges: Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis…

Borges: Collected Fictions (edition 1999)

by Jorge Luis Borges, Andrew Hurley (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,134491,906 (4.61)96
The works of an Argentinian writer who took the detective story and turned it into metaphysics. They range from the 1935 A Universal History of Iniquity, a series of biographies of reprehensible evildoers, to the surrealistic August 25, 1983 in which Borges meets himself as an old man.
Title:Borges: Collected Fictions
Authors:Jorge Luis Borges
Other authors:Andrew Hurley (Translator)
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1999), Paperback, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, collection

Work details

Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

  1. 30
    Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (Carnophile)
    Carnophile: While Ficciones is a subset of Collected Fictions, it is nice to have two translations of the same material. Each translator captures nuances the other misses.
  2. 00
    The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel by William Goldbloom Bloch (bertilak)
  3. 00
    The Complete Stories of J. G. Ballard by J. G. Ballard (ateolf)
  4. 00
    Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials by Reza Negarestani (S_Meyerson)
  5. 12
    The Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse (CGlanovsky)

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» See also 96 mentions

English (48)  Spanish (1)  All languages (49)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Sadly, no time to write a review tonight. Short version: Borges is one of my favorites. I don't think he'd have minded keeping things brief. ( )
  ralphpalm | Nov 11, 2019 |
I just didn't have the patience to get into this. I liked his writing, but some of the stories were definitely easier to get into than others. ( )
  carliwi | Sep 23, 2019 |
The Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges is an atmospheric series of adventures into a world of pure imagination. Going into this book, I was only familiar with JLB through the tale of The Library of Babel. Thankfully, the book contains that story and over a dozen more. Borges is a master wordsmith and Andrew Hurley, the translator, displays his talents well. In that same vein, the book is difficult to put down for any span of time, but I was forced to due to my reading it at work.

Great collection by a great author, this deserves all the glory it receives. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
Tlön, ...and Philosophy

The story "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" first appeared in Ficciones in the 1940's I believe. It was first translated into English in 1962. I have long thought that "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" was the center of Borges thought. Below I endeavor to give some indications as to why.


"Contact with Tlön, the habit of Tlön, has disintegrated this world. Spellbound by Tlön's rigor, humanity has forgotten, and continues to forget, that it is the rigor of chess masters, not of angels. [...] A scattered dynasty of recluses has changed the face of the earth-and their work continues."


Borges is a secret master of the metaphysical, the occult and all things esoteric. But rather than fight against our humanly manufactured secular world he quietly and gently laughs at it. Witness the fictitious world Tlön; and ask yourself, Who should rule - Angels or chess masters? - And then ask who does rule? And finally, who would you choose to have rule? About Borges there can be no doubt. He denies that there are any human possessors of complete Knowledge. But what of those very few (philosophers?) that do possess substantially more knowledge than the rest of us? What of their 'revelations'? "[...] of course, they are never divulged without a measure of deception." One supposes that the only answer to an Eternal Unknown is endless curiosity.

The Quest for Knowledge in the Endless Library

Like the bewildered Panther who inhabited a cage in order to supply the Poet Dante with a word and image for his Poem, Borges thoughtfully and relentlessly paced through our world. He too was here for a purpose, one that he never fully divined. He dreamed of an endless library; and even though it was mostly filled with entirely meaningless books, to be sure, the dream was still no nightmare. Because with each book there was always a possibility, however remote, of an underlying Sense, beyond the manifest nonsense, and that is what drove him forever on, deeper into the Library that is the World. Speculative thought strives to find the Sense in Nonsense; it is towards this 'possibility of Sense' that Borges tirelessly advanced. No one ever entirely reaches it...

The Specter that chases Borges as he wanders the stairwells of the Endless Library is not the notion that every book he finds there is either merely nonsense, or, at the very best, that any book he finds with a smidge of sense is merely a cipher of a more comprehensive book that has yet to turn up. This latter possibility is, after all, also his secret joy; it forever leads him further into the beloved Library. No. This Specter that haunts him is the dreadful fear that every book (possessing some Sense) in the endless Library was only written by a purposeful chess-master, and never a benign all-Knowing Angel. This last, if true, could only mean that either Knowing Angels don't exist, or that they don't truly possess complete Knowledge, ...or that they don't write.


Now, are there only chess-masters but no Angels? I think that this is the question that Borges quietly (and fearfully) asks in so many of his essays and stories. It is here, in his magnificent "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" that he writes this question down. Are we looking at Actuality, or a mere maneuver, or worse still, merest Chance when we view either World or Text? Is there anything anywhere, in any book or thought or material circumstance that reveals Actuality, rather than merely another purposeful maneuver or pointless Chance.
Of course, chess-masters can be superbly talented, and even quite well-disposed towards us. I believe that Nietzsche is grappling with the same knot of questions as is Borges when he writes that the "gods too philosophize". Remember, it was only the deluded Sophists who believed they really possessed Knowledge. To Philosophize is to admit that one doesn't Know. (Philosophers love Wisdom; they do not fully possess it.) Thus Nietzsche is asserting, when he avers that "the gods too philosophize", to speak as Borges might, that the Angels are only disembodied chess-masters,

When we first read Borges statement regarding 'a scattered dynasty of recluses' changing the world, we thought of the modern project of secularization. Later, we thought he meant the progenitors (and the propaganda) of the plague of ideologies that so disfigured the twentieth century. And finally, I came to think of those recluses as the several handfuls of Philosophers who strove to both find and give Sense to a senseless world lo these past 2500 years. And if there is a Beyond after our material world, which I believe Borges always suspected, I find it strangely reassuring to think that the Philosophical Project (loving Wisdom without fully attaining it) continues even there ...Forever.


It has fallen to the Philosophers to play the part of both Angel and chess master in a world bereft of complete Knowledge. Angels and chess masters, of course, are but avatars of the two fundamental esotericisms. The first is metaphysical esoteric, which tries to lead Man (at least a few men) to the Truth behind merest appearance. Its concern is the unfolding of Actuality. The other esotericism has to do with the political, it is fundamentally only concerned with Order. That is, the proper ordering of the civilized world in given circumstances.

The concern of one esotericism is Actuality, the other is merely Order. Both are the concern of Philosophy. And so, in the beginning, Plato writes his Timaeus; but also his Republic, Statesman, and Laws. Spinoza gives us his Ethics, and then his book on Political Theology. Nietzsche gifts the world his Zarathustra; and then punishes us with Beyond Good and Evil and The Genealogy of Morals.
The great and genuine philosophers have always spoken in these two idioms. They study, probe and speak of Actuality, while trying to either maintain or establish an Order where the study of Actuality can continue..

The Philosophers are Angels and chess masters ...forever. ( )
  pomonomo2003 | Apr 21, 2019 |
I don't think I have the words. Easily the best short stories I have ever read. The depth and breadth of this work isn't something I could have known before I picked this up. And to have picked up a copy at random and read the Library of Babel at random is a complete and total blessing. I'm so glad I did. He put words to many concepts and feelings that I didn't know could be worded, and redefined what I look for in literature and art in general. More thoughts to come later, maybe, when I collect my thoughts.

If you're reading this, read this goddamn book. ( )
  jakebornheimer | Mar 27, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Borges, Jorge Luisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurley, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed


Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Circular Ruins by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Lottery in Babylon [short story] by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

An Examination of the Work of Herbert Quain by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Library of Babel [short story] by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Garden of the Forking Paths [short story] by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Artificios by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Funes the Memorious by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Shape Of The Sword by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Theme Of The Traitor And The Hero by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Death and the Compass by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Secret Miracle by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Three Versions of Judas by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The End by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Sect Of The Phoenix by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The South by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges

The Immortal by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Dead Man by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Theologians by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Story Of The Warrior And The Captive by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Life Of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz (1829-1874) by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Emma Zunz by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The House Of Asterion by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Other Death by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Deutsches Requiem by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Averroes' Search by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The God's Script by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Ibn Hakkan Al-Bokhari, Dead In His Labyrinth by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths (The Aleph) by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Waiting by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Man On The Threshold by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

The Zahir [short story] by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Brodie's Report by Jorge Luis Borges

A Universal History of Infamy by Jorge Luis Borges

In Praise of Darkness by Jorge Luis Borges

The Book of Sand by Jorge Luis Borges

There are more things (Short story) by Jorge Luis Borges (indirect)

Shakespeare's Memory by Jorge Luis Borges

The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges

De roos van Paracelsus en Blauwe tijgers by Jorge Luis Borges

Dreamtigers by Jorge Luis Borges

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In 1517, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, feeling great pity for the Indians who grew worn and lean in the drudging infernos of the Antillean gold mines, proposed to Emperor Charles V that Negroes be brought to the isles of the Caribbean, so that they might grow worn and lean in the drudging infernos of the Antillean gold mines.
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