Jorge Luis Borges

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Borges, Jorge Luis

(hôr`hā lo͞oēs` bôr`hās), 1899–1986, Argentine poet, critic, and short-story writer, b. Buenos Aires. Borges has been widely hailed as the foremost contemporary Spanish-American writer. He was educated in Switzerland and afterward lived in Spain, where he became an exponent of ultraísmo, a poetic movement that followed the decline of modernismomodernismo
, movement in Spanish literature that had its beginning in Latin America. It was paramount in the last decade of the 19th cent. and the first decade of the 20th cent.

Modernismo derived from French symbolism and the Parnassian school.
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 after World War I. Ultraísmo advocated the use of bold images and daring metaphors in an attempt to create pure poetry, divorced not only from the past but from reality. Borges, who brought the movement to Argentina, never adhered strictly to its tenets. He helped to found three avant-garde journals and was director of the National Library and professor of English at the Univ. of Buenos Aires.

His poems, collected in Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923), Luna de enfrente (1925), Cuaderno San Martín (1954), Dreamtigers (tr. 1964), A Personal Anthology (tr. 1967), Selected Poems: 1923–1967 (1972), and In Praise of Darkness (tr. 1974), are often inspired by events of daily life or episodes of Argentine history. Characterized by lyricism, imagination, and boldness, they are, he said, "spiritual adventures." His essays, collected in Inquisiciones (1925), Otras inquisiciones (1960, tr. 1964), and the translations in Selected Nonfictions (1999) generally deal with philosophy and literary criticism. His tales, ranging from metaphysical allegories and fantasies (e.g., The Book of Imaginary Beings, 1967; tr. 1969) to sophisticated detective yarns, reveal a wide variety of influences (Kafka, Chesterton, Virginia Woolf) but are nevertheless strikingly original. Major collections of his short stories include Historia universal de la infamia (1935, tr. 1972), Ficciones (1944, tr. 1962), El Aleph (1949, tr. 1970), Extraordinary Tales (1955, tr. 1971), and Dr. Brodie's Report (tr. 1972). Labyrinths (1962) is a collection of translated works, and Collected Fictions (1998) contains his complete stories in translation.


See biographies by J. Woodall (1997) and E. Williamson (2004); R. Burgin, Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges (1969); studies by A. M. Barrenechea (tr. 1965), R. J. Christ (1969), C. Wheelock (1969), J. Alazraki (1971), and G. H. Bell-Villada (1981).

Borges, Jorge Luis


Born Aug. 24, 1899, in Buenos Aires, Argentine writer.

Borges began his literary career in Spain as one of the founders of the modernist school of ultraism, the principles of which he then developed in Argentine poetry (the collections The Fervor of Buenos Aires, 1923; The Facing Moon, 1926). He won wide recognition for his fantastic short stories, which, in keeping with their complicated figurative structure, are filled with the idea of the absurdity of the world. He also writes literary analyses and essays.


Obras completas, [vols. 1–3. Buenos Aires, 1964–65].


Gutiérrez Girardot, R. Jorge Luis Borges: Ensayo de interpretación. Madrid, 1959.
Alazraki, J. La prosa narrativa de J. L. Borges. Madrid [1968]. (Contains a bibliography, pp. 229–40.)


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The author has dismissed the accusation, arguing that mixing "real" texts into fiction was a technique countless writers have used, notably Argentina's Jorge Luis Borges and France's Georges Perec.