Borges - Criticism: Contextual Criticism

contaminated by unreality....

Contextual Criticism

Raid on the Articulate: Comic Eschatology in Jesus and Borges

John Dominic Crossan

Harper & Row, 1976, Paperback, Out of print.

An Irish religious scholar with numerous books about the “historical Jesus,” one of Crossan’s earliest works was a Christian account of apocalyptic themes in Borges. A review of this book would be welcome.

Jorge Luis Borges: Sources and Illuminations

Giovanna de Garayalde

Octagon Press, 1978, ISBN 0-900860-61-8; Hardcover, $30.00. [Browse/Purchase]

From the publisher:

A must for anyone interested in the work of the great Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borges. Prof. Garayalde settles many of the puzzles and misinterpretations of his works in a very concise and convincing account both of the Sufis and their work – with which she became familiar long before she approached Borges’ own – and of the many parallels in ideas and in actual tales that are included in his work. This is an ideal introduction to Sufi thought for anyone who is searching for a greater understanding of life and him/herself through literature.

Borges In/And/On Film

Edgardo Cozarinsky

Lumen Books, 1988, ISBN 0930829085; Paperback, $10.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From Independent Publisher:

This is the first English translation of the collected film criticism of Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine author, essayist, poet, and film critic. This collection has been gathered by the Argentine film director Edgardo Cozarinsky. Cozarinsky also includes his own critiques of the film adapted from Borges’ stories or those on which Borges worked. Disdaining novels due mostly to the sheer length necessary to develop and express an idea, Borges’ own stories possessed a strong narrative and evoked a series of images that blurred the distinction between fiction an reality. He observed the same possibility for expression in film and saw his writing as “an idea of film.” His reviews, like many of his stories, are brief, but they illustrate a unique insight not always shared by popular opinion. When discussing Citizen Kane or Chaplin’s City Lights, he does not hesitate to comment on the tediousness of the former or the ordinariness of the latter. His essay on the horrors of dubbing should be appreciated by any serious filmgoer and holds just as true today as when first published in 1945. His unique perspective and ideas gave rise to the adjective “Borgesian,” a term adopted by many film critics, just as “Kafkaesque” is used by literary critics. Cozarinsky includes his own double essay on the origin and development of the term “Borgesian.” This book would be a valuable addition to any collection of serious film criticism, not just because of the validity of the reviews, but also because of the impact Borges had and continues to have on filmmakers and critics alike.

Unthinking Thinking: Jorge Luis Borges, Mathematics and the New Physics

Floyd Merrell

Purdue University Press, 1991, ISBN 1557530114; Hardcover, $50.95, Out of print. [Browse/Search for a copy]

From the publisher:

This authoritative study explores the scientific and mathematical cultural milieu that patterns much of the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges’s narrative design. Although criticism of Borges’s fiction and essays has long emphasized philosophical traditions, Merrell expands the context of this interrogation of traditions by revealing how early twentieth-century and contemporary mathematics and physics also participated in a similar exploration. Topics treated include the semiotic flows of paradox and contradiction, the patterns of infinities, the limits of natural and mathematical languages, and the narrative function in scientific theory. Against this, background, Merrell provides incisive readings of Borges’s complex fiction and essays.

Borges and the European Avant-Garde

Linda S. Maier

Peter Lang, 1996, ISBN 0-8204-1702-5; Hardcover, $40.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the publisher:

This study examines Borges’ association with the European avant-garde during the late 1910s and early 1920s. It explores the Argentine author’s literary origins under the tutelage of the avant-garde, his earliest publications in Spanish journals, and his decisive role in the Ultraist movement, whose ideas shaped his early career and channelled his subsequent literary development. Maier’s analysis and interpretation of these early texts document Borges’ career as an avant-garde theorist and poet. This book explains the pertinence of Borges’ literary apprenticeship to his later works and establishes the basic unity of his writing.

Borges and the Politics of Form

José Eduardo González

Garland, 1998, ISBN 0815328036; Hardcover, $75.00. [Browse/Purchase]

From the publisher:

Jorge Luis Borges – one of the most important Latin American writers – has also attained considerable international stature, and his work is commonly cited in a wide array of scholarship on contemporary fiction. Partly as a consequence of Borges’ international identity, and partly because of a long-standing view in Borges criticism that his writing is principally concerned with abstract ideas, critics have been reluctant to address the question of politics in his writing. Filling this critical gap, González begins by rejecting the proposition that Borges withdraws from the “real,” and provides a detailed analysis of the various political issues that Borges takes up in his essays and short stories. The author places particular emphasis on the turbulent questions that shaped Argentine social history during the period of Borges’ output.

Borges and Philosophy: Self, Time, and Metaphysics

W.H. Bossart & Hans H. Rudnick, ed.

Peter Lang, 2003, ISBN 0820461024; Hardcover, $64.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the publisher:

Jorge Luis Borges is acknowledged as one of the great Spanish writers of the twentieth century. On the broader literary scene, he is recognized as a modern master. His fascination with philosophy – especially metaphysics – sets him apart from his contemporaries. Borges appreciated and formulated rigorous philosophical arguments, but also possessed the unique ability to present the most abstract ideas imaginatively in metaphors and symbols. Borges wandered among the great masters seeking a firm purchase that he could not find, and therefore expressed a nostalgia for metaphysics as he lost himself in his labyrinths. Borges and Philosophy traces Borges’ philosophical concerns in his tales, essays, and poems and argues that despite his apparent skepticism in philosophical matters, a careful reading of Borges’ texts reveals a coherent philosophical path that underlies his work.

Go To:

Criticism Main Page – Returns you to the Main Criticism page and the Quick Reference Card of titles.

Biography –Borges biography, conversations and anecdotes. (Under development)

General Criticism 1 – General literary criticism or commentary on Borges and his writing up until 1989.

General Criticism 2 – General literary criticism or commentary on Borges and his writing from 1990 to the present.

Comparative Criticism – Studies of Borges in relation to other authors or artists.

Bibliography – An alphabetized bibliography of Borges criticism.

Variaciones Borges – Takes you offsite to the homepage of Variaciones Borges, the biannual international journal of Borges studies.

–Allen B. Ruch
3 July 2004

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