Collected Fictions Summary

Collected Fictions

The influence of Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges cannot be overstated. His innovative narratives—in which he invents new realities, plays with philosophical concepts, and blurs the line between fiction and nonfiction—shaped the styles of such well-known authors as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlo Fuentes, Salman Rushdie, John Barth, and Umberto Eco. That he was never awarded a Nobel Prize, despite being nominated numerous times, is seen by many as a reflection of the inadequacy of the Swedish Academy.

The reader of Collected Fictions can follow the development of Borges from his early stories in The Universal History of Iniquity (1935) to his final collection in 1983. After struggling in obscurity for many years, Borges achieved worldwide fame upon the release of Fictions in 1944. It was this collection, and its follow-up, The Aleph (1949)—both of which are included in Collected Fictions—that established Borges as a giant of twentieth century literature. Despite the fact that the stories in these two collections were written decades ago, they still seem innovative and remain unrivaled in their ability to provoke thought.

During the 1960’s Borges wrote in a style more akin to prose poetry than fiction. He dabbled in realism during the early 1970’s, then returned to his more imaginative style of the 1940’s in his last two collections. This long and distinguished career seems even more remarkable when one considers the fact that Borges lost his sight in 1955 and was forced to dictate subsequent stories.