Jorge Luis Borges

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Klapaucius
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Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Klapaucius » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:39 am UTC

Early 20th century Argentinian mad genius who wrote on death, eternity, the nature of truth, hexagons, magic, humanism, and an infinite library containing an infinite number of books contain the same twenty-five letters arranged in infinite and seemingly random ways to form every piece of writing that has ever been published and that ever will be published, and made H.P. Lovecraft look like a small-minded optimist. I've been reading through his collected works (translated into English) and I've begun to gather that he's one of the greatest authors of the past hundred years. Any fans here?
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:53 pm UTC

Klapaucius wrote:an infinite library containing an infinite number of books contain the same twenty-five letters arranged in infinite and seemingly random ways to form every piece of writing that has ever been published and that ever will be published
Ah, that's why his name sounded familiar. Apparently quite a famous story, that one, and readily available online. Still, not so good that I ever felt inclined to seek out any of his other stuff.

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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby diotimajsh » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:39 pm UTC

I have to confess, I haven't read any extended works by Borges, but I've read a number of selections by him (for example, in The Mind's I) and really liked them. While the one dedicated collection I do have (Dreamtigers) isn't enthusing me too much, I'm optimistic that I just need to find the right writings.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Hentzau » Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:52 pm UTC

He's fantastic. Far and away my favourite is his short story 'The South', such a beautifully nihilistic ending. I think it's featured in 'Fictions'.

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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Klapaucius » Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:42 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Klapaucius wrote:an infinite library containing an infinite number of books contain the same twenty-five letters arranged in infinite and seemingly random ways to form every piece of writing that has ever been published and that ever will be published
Ah, that's why his name sounded familiar. Apparently quite a famous story, that one, and readily available online. Still, not so good that I ever felt inclined to seek out any of his other stuff.


You should. It's not even one of his best stories, just one of the best-sounding concepts. His most famous story is The Aleph, which is about a man whose friend claims to have a window into every point in the universe hidden in his basement, and the one that literary professors study the most is The Gospel According to Mark which is about a missionary who comes to a South American village and... yeah, I'm not going to give away the ending.

If anyone wants a boiled-down summary of JLB, imagine if Philip K. Dick's VALIS phase had kicked in at the beginning of his career instead of the end, and he was lucid enough to make you actually believe it all.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby justaman » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:12 am UTC

JLB is pure distilled awesome. I love his way of phrasing things just perfectly and how his stories can be so short but completely self-contained. His writing makes me want to learn Spanish just so that I can appreciate the works in their original form.

There is a free version of "The Zahir and I" on this website: http://www.themodernword.com/borges/index.html along with lots of other info about him and his works, interviews, etc.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby shieldforyoureyes » Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:29 am UTC

diotimajsh wrote:I have to confess, I haven't read any extended works by Borges, but I've read a number of selections by him (for example, in The Mind's I) and really liked them. While the one dedicated collection I do have (Dreamtigers) isn't enthusing me too much, I'm optimistic that I just need to find the right writings.


I discovered my favorite writer via The Mind's I (Stanislaw Lem) who then led me to PKD and Andrei Tarkovsky, who led me to the Strugatsky brothers...

Plus Dawkins!

The Mind's I is a fantastic collection.

Also, anyone who likes Borges would probably like Calvino.

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diotimajsh
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby diotimajsh » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:36 am UTC

I really like Stanislaw Lem too, though I want to find more books by him. Last time I went to the bookstore, their catalog claimed they had a copy of Cyberiad there, but did they? Nooo...

Back on topic, I picked up a copy of Borges' Labyrinths, and the first story, "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Terius" is pretty great. It's just the right blend of philosophical craziness. The stories in general seem to start off a bit dry or uninteresting for me, so it takes me a bit to get into though. But yeah, good stuff.

Oh, and Philip K Dick is great too, of course. I may check out the others you mentioned too.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:07 am UTC

Oh hell yeah! His collection of fiction made my mind explode, and every so often I pick up the pieces and read a few more stories, further exploding the brain pieces, until everywhere is coated by a thin paste of brain that when viewed with a microscope is that of infinite brains, each an adequate representation of the meme dance that is Izawwlgood.

This bullet is an old one... In the dawn of time it was the stone that Cain hurled at Abel, and in the future it shall be many things that we cannot even imagine today, but that will be able to put an end to men and their wondrous, fragile life.


Or a map that is larger then the area of land it displays.
Uh, Aleph.
I laughed at loud at the guys categorization of animals that was something like: Little bugs, Things that are Far Away from me, things that irritate, things that are pretty.

Tlon Uqbar Orbis Terius was my favorite, as was the one about the man who makes the simulacrum and then dreams of his own existence.

I'm sure most of the lit theory aspects of his writing goes way over my head, but I can't help but get giddy over his writing
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby someguy » Fri Jan 16, 2009 7:37 am UTC

diotimajsh wrote:Back on topic, I picked up a copy of Borges' Labyrinths, and the first story, "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Terius" is pretty great. It's just the right blend of philosophical craziness. The stories in general seem to start off a bit dry or uninteresting for me, so it takes me a bit to get into though. But yeah, good stuff.

It's a great story, isn't it? It completely drew me in the first time I read it.

His style is sort of dry and academic, if you will, and he even footnoted himself often under several identities, so to speak, ie. as though it were a critic's comment on something in the main text, references to made-up books, etc.

Hentzau wrote:He's fantastic. Far and away my favourite is his short story 'The South', such a beautifully nihilistic ending. I think it's featured in 'Fictions'.

Yes, it's there. Haven't read it in a while, I wonder whether I've brought it with me... ?
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Jesse » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:30 am UTC

I haven't read him, but I've read quite a bit of stuff inspired by him, so it's about time I picked up a book or two.

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diotimajsh
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby diotimajsh » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:33 am UTC

Been reading more from Labyrinths, and man! I gotta say, for anyone who liked House of Leaves, you should love Borges. The influence is widespread and obvious, and now I'm starting to wonder if Danielewski's Zampanò might not be modeled after him in a few respects. Borges is rapidly becoming a new favorite writer of mine.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby someguy » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:42 am UTC

diotimajsh wrote:Zampanò

It does sound like a surname you might find in Argentina. It'd probably be spelled without the tilde at the end, and I'd tend to put the stress on the second syllable, as in Zam-PAH-no. But yes.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Lemminkainen » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:04 am UTC

I just had my first taste of a large dose of Borges this week when I started reading Ficciones, (containing Labyrthinhs and second part whose name I don't recall at the moment) though I had read The Library of Babel and Los Dos Reyes y los Dos Laberintos before. He is amazing. Though stylistically, he's merely slightly academic and dry (though I do enjoy the ironically self-referential footnotes and comments that he makes before his own work), his fascinating, mind-blowing premises and ideas are what grant his work their brilliance. Tlon, Uqbal, Orbis Tertius, with its idea of a world in which the idea trumps the reality was fascinating, and after reading Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote, I will never be able to read and analyze literature the same way ever again.

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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby someguy » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:45 am UTC

Lemminkainen wrote:after reading Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote, I will never be able to read and analyze literature the same way ever again.

I remember when my friend told me what it was about, a good while before I read it myself. It blew my mind through and through. I mean how do you even come up with that idea?
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Lemminkainen » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:40 pm UTC

To do: write a critical piece on Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote as if it was written by somebody other than Borges.

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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Torlek42 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:09 pm UTC

I love Borges. The Immortal absolutely blew my mind. I am convinced that Final Fantasy X is based of The Immortal and The Circular Ruins. I keep seeing his influence in everything I read...I'm convinced the Aleph inspired Douglas Adams' Total Perspective Vortex.

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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby ducknerd » Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:25 am UTC

"Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" made me feel really weird and unhappy for about an hour. I have no earthly idea why.
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Re: Jorge Luis Borges

Postby Klapaucius » Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:44 pm UTC

ducknerd wrote:"Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" made me feel really weird and unhappy for about an hour. I have no earthly idea why.
I felt the same way. I guess it's the idea that context is irrelevant when you can make any context you want.
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