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Borges: Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis…

Borges: Collected Fictions (original 1998; edition 1999)

by Jorge Luis Borges

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3,511381,510 (4.6)95
Title:Borges: Collected Fictions
Authors:Jorge Luis Borges
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1999), Paperback
Collections:Your library

Work details

Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (1998)

  1. 30
    Ficciones 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
    Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse (CGlanovsky)

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» See also 95 mentions

English (37)  Spanish (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
A masterpiece ( )
  Mohamed80 | Jul 11, 2015 |
Did Andrew Hurley use Google Translate? Awkward and stilted prose. Inferior to di Giovanni's translations in particular (which were made in collaboration with Borges), and other Borges translations in general. What a disservice to a great writer. ( )
  j_blett | Apr 25, 2015 |
Just pretty much, wow. ( )
  DavidCLDriedger | Apr 22, 2015 |
"Hey guys, what's going on?"
"The party's over. That, Justin, is how late to the party you are. It is over."

I have no idea why it took me so long to get to Borges. Perhaps because I mostly read second hand books, and nobody trades in his books? Perhaps because I spent a solid portion of my youth believing that only tremendously depressing books could be interesting? Perhaps because, had I read him before now, I would have been enraged at his disinterest in politics and then his proud 'liberalism'?

In any case, I found a copy at a thrift store, have realized that funny/joyous books can be important and fascinating, and, luckily, the fiction isn't as open to self-congratulatory critics saying things like "Borges knew all along that trying to help poor people results in evil, see?"

He wrote three kinds of story: metaphysical tales, which take place in an imaginary world or in which someone has a super-power or Arabian Nights style trinket (special bonus: Borges convinced me to start on the 1001 Nights, and it is *fabulous*); literary critical tales in which the same kinds of things happen, but in a book that somebody's reading; and stories about gauchos.

In his non-fiction, Borges states, repeatedly, the obvious but often ignored fact that all literature relies on context for its power; he goes so far as to imply that great works are read as great works only because that's how they've previously been read--and that that's okay. The point is: I have *no* context whatsoever for the gaucho stories. I know nothing about the revolutions in South America, or the civil wars, or, indeed, any of the history there until the twentieth century. Nor have I read Martin Fierro. So it has to be taken with a grain of salt, but, I don't think the gaucho tales are worth reading, and I certainly won't be re-reading them.

The metaphysical and literary critical tales, particularly those in 'Fictions,' 'The Aleph,' 'The Book of Sand,' and 'Shakespeare's Memory,' on the other hand, have made me think I should read more short stories. I'll be disappointed, because I'll read some Cheever knock-off that will bore me silly, and then I'll return to these books.

They're a fabulous example of why everything people say about literature in high school is wrong. You don't need developing characters; you don't need deep psychological insights; you don't need wondrous epiphanies. You can do without all of that if you have a story worth telling, and the story can come in any form.

In Borges' case, that means you can write the most Alexandrine, hermetic kinds of things possible--but if you do it with joy and a good tale, people will fall over themselves to shower you with praise and awards, and your books will pass down from parents to children for generations. ( )
1 vote stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
I'm afraid Borges' fictions suffered, for me, from expectations that had, over the years, been built up to far too great a height. I began this book expecting to have my socks knocked off, and while the stories were mostly quite good, my socks stayed firmly planted and there were a fair number of these that simply underwhelmed. I think I'll have to try again some other time with some sections to see whether it was simply a matter of timing. ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Oct 12, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jorge Luis Borgesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurley, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140286802, Paperback)

Although Jorge Luis Borges published his first book in 1923--doling out his own money for a limited edition of Fervor de Buenos Aires--he remained in Argentinian obscurity for almost three decades. In 1951, however, Ficciones appeared in French, followed soon after by an English translation. This collection, which included the cream of the author's short fictions, made it clear that Borges was a world-class (if highly unclassifiable) artist--a brilliant, lyrical miniaturist, who could pose the great questions of existence on the head of pin. And by 1961, when he shared the French Prix Formentor with Samuel Beckett, he seemed suddenly to tower over a half-dozen literary cultures, the very exemplar of modernism with a human face.

By the time of his death in 1986, Borges had been granted old master status by almost everybody (except, alas, the gentlemen of the Swedish Academy). Yet his work remained dispersed among a half-dozen different collections, some of them increasingly hard to find. Andrew Hurley has done readers a great service, then, by collecting all the stories in a single, meticulously translated volume. It's a pleasure to be reminded that Borges's style--poetic, dreamlike, and compounded of innumerable small surprises--was already in place by 1935, when he published A Universal History of Iniquity: "The earth we inhabit is an error, an incompetent parody. Mirrors and paternity are abominable because they multiply and affirm it." (Incidentally, the thrifty author later recycled the second of these aphorisms in his classic bit of bookish metaphysics, "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Teris.") The glories of his middle period, of course, have hardly aged a day. "The Garden of the Forking Paths" remains the best deconstruction of the detective story ever written, even in the post-Auster era, and "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" puts the so-called death of the author in pointed, hilarious perspective.

But Hurley's omnibus also brings home exactly how consistent Borges remained in his concerns. As late as 1975, in "Avelino Arredondo," he was still asking (and occasionally even answering) the same riddles about time and its human repository, memory: "For the man in prison, or the blind man, time flows downstream as though down a slight decline. As he reached the midpoint of his reclusion, Arredondo more than once achieved that virtually timeless time. In the first patio there was a wellhead, and at the bottom, a cistern where a toad lived; it never occurred to Arredondo that it was the toad's time, bordering on eternity, that he sought." Throughout, Hurley's translation is crisp and assured (although this reader will always have a soft spot for "Funes, the Memorious" rather than "Funes, His Memory.") And thanks to his efforts, Borgesians will find no better--and no more pleasurable--rebuttal of the author's description of himself as "a shy sort of man who could not bring himself to write short stories." --James Marcus

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:08 -0400)

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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.… (more)

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