Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
One of the most innovative Latin American writers in the twentieth century, Jorge Luis Borges is considered by many to have exerted a powerful force in reforming the Spanish language. His prose is precise, compact, and direct; it is at times deceptively simple yet abounds in psychological and philosophical subtlety. The author of essays and poetry, Borges is known primarily for two volumes of short stories, Ficciones (1944) and El Aleph (1949, 1952). Ficciones is an anthology of short stories in two parts entitled “The Garden of the Forking Paths” and “Artifices.” Whereas part 1 was published separately several years earlier in Buenos Aires, part 2 contains a number of stories published for the first time.
Throughout his long career, Borges remained interested in a number of topics. He had a lifelong love of things Argentine, including a fascination with the country’s great stark plains, the Pampa, and their violent and elemental cowboys, called gauchos. His broader attraction to Argentine life and literature found its focus in Buenos Aires, a city he loved and knew intimately and where he spent much of his life. Borges’s second enduring interest can be classified as philosophical, though his thought and knowledge range widely over metaphysics, history, religion, art, and literature. Early in his life, Borges gained a reputation as a difficult writer, one who wrote not for the masses but for a select few scholars and...
(The entire section is 1791 words.)
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