Jorge Luis Borges - Works

Works

Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort argue that Borges "may have been the most important figure in Spanish-language literature since Cervantes. But whatever his particular literary rank, he was clearly of tremendous influence, writing intricate poems, short stories, and essays that instantiated concepts of dizzying power."

In addition to short stories for which he is most noted, Borges also wrote poetry, essays, screenplays, literary criticism, and edited numerous anthologies. His longest work of fiction was a 14-page story, "The Congress", first published in 1971. His late-onset blindness strongly influenced his later writing. Borges wrote: "When I think of what I've lost, I ask, 'Who know themselves better than the blind?' – for every thought becomes a tool." Paramount among his intellectual interests are elements of mythology, mathematics, theology, integrating these through literature, sometimes playfully, sometimes with great seriousness.

Borges composed poetry throughout his life. As his eyesight waned (it came and went, with a struggle between advancing age and advances in eye surgery), he increasingly focused on writing poetry, since he could memorize an entire work in progress. His poems embrace the same wide range of interests as his fiction, along with issues that emerge in his critical works and translations, and from more personal musings. For example, his interest in idealism runs through his work, reflected in the fictional world of Tlön in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" and in his essay "A New Refutation of Time". It also appears as a theme in "On Exactitude in Science", and in his poems "Things" and "El Golem" ("The Golem") and his story "The Circular Ruins".

Borges was a notable translator. He translated works of literature in English, French, German, Old English, and Old Norse into Spanish. His first publication, for a Buenos Aires newspaper, was a translation of Oscar Wilde's story The Happy Prince into Spanish when he was nine. At the end of his life he produced a Spanish-language version of a part of Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda. He also translated (while simultaneously subtly transforming) the works of, among others, Edgar Allan Poe, Kafka, Hesse, Kipling, Faulkner, Gide, Whitman and Woolf. Borges wrote and lectured extensively on the art of translation, holding that a translation may improve upon the original, may even be unfaithful to it, and that alternative and potentially contradictory renderings of the same work can be equally valid. Borges also employed the devices of literary forgery and the review of an imaginary work, both forms of modern pseudo-epigrapha.

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Famous quotes containing the word works:

    ‘Tis too plain that with the material power the moral progress has not kept pace. It appears that we have not made a judicious investment. Works and days were offered us, and we took works.
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    No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
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