Borges Works
Fictions and Artifices

Contents
Collected Fictions
A Universal History of Infamy
Ficciones
The Aleph
El Hacedor (Dreamtigers)
Personal Anthology
Labyrinths
Doctor Brodie’s Report
The Book of Sand
The Library of Babel (Illustrated)
Everything and Nothing

Collected Fictions

Translated by Andrew Hurley.

1. Viking, 1998, ISBN 0-670-84970-7; Hardcover $40.00. [Browse/Special Order]

2. Viking, 1999, ISBN 0-14-028680-2; Paperback $16.95. [Browse/Purchase]

Published in 1998 by Viking-Penguin as the first volume in a set of three major Borges collections, Collected Fictions is truly a cause for celebration. For the first time ever, a reader may hold all of Borges’ short stories in his or her hand, bound in a single, attractive volume. Furthermore, as some of these stories have been long out of print or previously available only in Spanish, Collected Fictions serves as a treasure chest of Borges rarities, from the “universal iniquities” of his youth to his final story, “Shakespeare’s Memory.”
The stories all share the same translator, Andrew Hurley, who brings a marvelous consistency to a body of work spanning half a century. Hurley taps into Borges’ crisp yet sonorous Spanish, giving the stories a natural rhythm and fluidity, and every detail is rendered with a lucid transparency. One sense a kind of rightness, or accuracy, in both word choices and popular idiom. Additionally, Hurley recognizes the wonderful humor in Borges, and many of these stories contain a certain twinkle that is both welcome and entirely appropriate. This being said, there are occasions that one misses the poetic liberties taken by earlier translators; for instance, “Funes the Memorius” is now retitled “Funes, His Memory.” (Ironically some of these older locutions are less true to the original Spanish, bringing to mind Borges’ famous comment, “The original is not faithful to the translation.”) This nostalgic criticism, however, should in no way detract from praising this significant work, and Hurley and his editors at Penguin should be applauded for their remarkable efforts.
Collected Fictions gathers together all the stories from the following books: A Universal History of Infamy (1935), Ficciones (1944), The Aleph (1949), Doctor Brodie’s Report (1970), and The Book of Sand (1975). It also extracts the prose works from The Maker (1960) and In Praise of Darkness (1969), although it naturally leaves the poetry in these collections for Selected Poems. Quite importantly, it also includes the four previously untranslated stories from the “Shakespeare’s Memory” section of Obras Completas 1975-1985. The book closes with an appendix of useful notes, annotating some of the more exotic personalities and locations featured in the stories, and pointing out various nuances that might be missed by a reader unfamiliar with Spanish or its Argentine dialects.
The volume does not contain the fictions Borges coauthored with Adolfo Bioy-Casares; nor does it contain The Book of Imaginary Beings. (Of course, that would elevate it from the merely miraculous to the divine!) As it is, it feels almost sinful to have fifty years of genius, insight, and ironic humor all in a single volume for under twenty dollars. In other words, if you are to own one volume of Borges’ stories, Collected Fictions would make an excellent choice.

A Universal History of Infamy

Translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni:

1. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1972, ISBN 0-525-47546-X; Paperback $6.00. Out of Print. [Search for a Copy]

Translated by Andrew Hurley:

2. A Universal History of Iniquity. Penguin Classics, 2004, ISBN 0-14-243789-1; Paperback $12.00. [Browse/Purchase]

3. Collected Fictions: A Universal History of Iniquity. Viking, 1999, ISBN 0-14-028680-2; Paperback $16.95. [Browse/Purchase]

Published in 1935 by Editorial Tor, Historia universal de la infamia is a collection of sketches that first appeared in Crítica, a Buenos Aires newspaper, from August 1933 to January 1934. (Though “The Disinterested Killer Bill Harrigan” was penned specifically for the collection.) Consisting of “falsifications and distortions” of stories Borges read elsewhere, Borges uses these primary sources to mask his first forays into literary invention, freely adapting the “true” stories for his own creative purposes. Influenced by his reading of Stevenson and Chesteron as well as the gangster films of von Sternberg, the tales are lurid but cheerfully ironic, filled with sudden violence, paradox, and the occasional twist. While not considered part of the “mature” Borges canon, these works of tentative fiction nevertheless clearly display the elements of the “Borgesian” style that would come to fruition in Ficciones. Historia universal de la infamia is also notable for its inclusion of “Hombre de la esquina rosada,” an entirely original story about a knife-wielding compradito. Translated by di Giovanni as “Streetcorner Man,” this violent tale brought Borges some notoriety, though it was originally written under a pseudonym of “Francisco Bustos.” Although Borges would later look upon it wryly as a “laboured composition,” it marks his first attempt at completely original fiction, and has been much anthologized over the years.
Borges revised Historia universal de la infamia in 1954, at which time he added three additional pieces to the “Et cetera” section – “Mahomed’s Double,” “The Generous Enemy,” and “On Exactitude in Science.” He also wrote a second preface in which he attempted to distance himself from the sketches, calling them the “irresponsible games” of a “shy young man.”
The first English translation of Historia universal de la infamia was published by E. P. Dutton, who commissioned Norman Thomas di Giovanni to work closely with Borges to produce faithful translations. (Details of this project may be found below, under The Aleph and Other Stories, the first such volume released by Dutton.) The 1972 edition gives the following contents, identical to the 1954 Spanish edition:

  • The Dread Redeemer Lazarus Morell
  • Tom Castro, the Implausible Imposter
  • The Widow Ching, Lady Pirate
  • Monk Eastman, Purveyor of Iniquities
  • The Disinterested Killer Bill Harrigan
  • The Insulting Master of Etiquette Kôtsuké no Suké
  • The Masked Dyer, Hakim of Merv
  • Streetcorner Man
  • Et cetera, including: “A Theologian in Death,” “The Chamber of Statues,” “Tale of the Two Dreamers,” “The Wizard Postponed,” “The Mirror of Ink,” “A Double for Mohammed,” “The Generous Enemy,” and “On Exactitude in Science.”
  • Index of Sources

The Dutton edition was picked up by Allen Lane/Penguin in England and an Allen Lane UK version came out in 1973; in 1975 it was copyrighted by Penguin, which kept it in print in the UK long after the American original went out of print. In 1999 Andrew Hurley produced a new translation for Viking’s Collected Fictions. Restoring the “pink corner” back to “Hombre de la esquina rosada,” Hurley also retitled the collection A Universal History of Iniquity. In 2004, Penguin finally published it as a separate book.

  • The Cruel Redeemer Lazarus Morell
  • The Improbable Imposter Tom Castro
  • The Widow Ching – Pirate
  • Monk Eastman, Purveyor of Iniquities
  • The Disinterested Killer Bill Harrigan
  • The Uncivil Teacher of Court Etiquette Kôtsuké no Suké
  • Hakim, the Masked Dyer of Merv
  • Man on Pink Corner
  • Et cetera, including: “A Theologian in Death,” “The Chamber of Statues,” “The Story of the Two Dreamers,” “The Wizard that Was Made to Wait,” “The Mirror of Ink,” “Mahomed’s Double,” “The Generous Enemy,” and “On Exactitude in Science.”
  • Index of Sources

As a final note, I should mention a reversal that would have made Borges smile in amusement. In a case of student surpassing his teacher, Thunder’s Mouth Press uses an excerpt from “Monk Eastman, Purveyor of Iniquities” as the foreword for their recent edition of Herbert Asbury’s Gangs of New York, the very book that inspired Borges’ sketch in the first place!

Ficciones

Translated by Anthony Kerrigan, Anthony Bonner, Alastair Reid, Helen Temple, and Ruthven Todd:

1. Grove Press, 1962, ISBN 0802130305; Paperback $13.00. [Browse/Purchase]

2. Alfred A. Knopf, 1993, ISBN 0-679-42299-4; Hardcover $17.00. “Everyman’s Library” edition. [Browse/Purchase]

Translated by Andrew Hurley:

3. Collected Fictions: Ficciones. Viking, 1999, ISBN 0-14-028680-2; Paperback $16.95. [Browse/Purchase]


Grove Press

Generally considered to be Borges’ masterpiece, Ficciones is a collection of seventeen original short stories. (Although the title means “Fictions,” it is always called “Ficciones” in English.) First published as a single volume in 1944, the book is divided into two sections: “The Garden of Forking Paths,” which was originally published in 1941, and the later “Artifices.” Although the stories of the earlier section are generally longer and somewhat more fantastical than those of the later section, all of Ficciones explores the labyrinthine nature of reality and the impact of language on literature, philosophy, metaphysics, and theology. Many stories are concerned with imaginary books penned by fictional authors, and more then a few engage in flights of meta-reality where reality and fiction are seamlessly intertwined. The contents are given below, with the original Grove Press titles:

THE GARDEN OF FORKING PATHS (8 stories)

  • “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”– A reference to an imaginary country leads the author deeper into a different linguistic reality.
  • “The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim” – A review of a work of detective fiction concerned with the quest for an unreal person.
  • “Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote” – Borges explains why Menard’s twentieth century (but identical) Quixote is superior to that of Cervantes’.
  • “The Circular Ruins” – A mystic visionary attempts to dream a human into being.
  • “The Babylon Lottery” – The history of a society ruled by the random, invisible, and godlike Company.
  • “An Examination of the Work of Herbert Quain” – Reviews of three strange pieces of fiction by a very unusual author.
  • “The Library of Babel” – The tale of a man, perhaps Borges himself, a caretaker in the Library of infinity.
  • “The Garden of Forking Paths” – A unique spy story about an impossible book and a mythical labyrinth.

ARTIFICES (9 Stories)

  • “Funes, the Memorius” – A nineteen year old invalid reveals that language is an inadequate tool for those who can forget nothing.
  • “The Form of the Sword” – The tale of an Irish expatriate and the scar on his face.
  • “Theme of the Traitor and Hero” – When history repeats literature, looking deeper often reveals the hand of hidden forces.
  • “Death and the Compass” – A detective story in which the ineffable name of God is the principal clue.
  • “The Secret Miracle” – A writer’s last days under a Nazi death sentence.
  • “Three Versions of Judas” – A “review” of the work of Nils Runeberg, a modern heresiarch, and his views on the nature of Judas Iscariot.
  • “The End” – A completion of José Hernández’ great folk poem about Martín Fierro.
  • “The Sect of the Phoenix” – The sectarians are a cult that have survived the ages, judiciously keeping the Secret which unites them.
  • “The South” – In this semi-autobiographical tale, a copy of the Thousand and One Nights precipitates the strange sickness of an Argentine nationalist.

Despite bringing Borges some degree of fame within the Spanish-speaking world, Ficciones was not translated into English until seventeen years after its publication. (A French version appeared in 1951, which helped to build his reputation in Europe.) In 1961 Borges won the first Prix Formenter prize, a new award dedicated to honoring those authors whose work will “have a lasting influence on the development of modern literature.” Conceived and awarded by a panel of five international publishers – including New York’s Grove Press – the first award of $10,000 was divided between Jorge Luis Borges and Samuel Beckett. Although neither Borges nor the Prix Formentor were well known to the world at large, one of the benefits of the award was the publication of the author’s work into each country represented by the panel: Spain, Italy, England, the United States, and Germany. Grove Press published a translation of Ficciones in 1962, and Borges was soon catapulted into the world spotlight.

Note on Ficciones
A cornerstone of modern literature, I recommend Ficciones to anyone and everyone; I feel that these stories comprise some of the most powerful thoughts about reality ever put to paper under the guise of fiction. While it would be both inaccurate and an exaggeration to suggest that Borges “invented” postmodernism with these works, their impact upon modern literature is incalculable. European OuLiPo, American postmodernism, the Latin American “Boom,” science fiction and fantasy, literary and cultural criticism, even comic books – an exhaustive catalog of writing influenced by Borges would not only fill The Modern Word, it would overflow into countless other anthologies, magazines, and libraries as well.
Although the Grove Press paperback Ficciones is fairly inexpensive, the hardcover edition put out under the “Everyman’s Library” series by Knopf deserves special note, as its introduction, short biography and chronology are well worth the extra price. Of course, the Viking Collected Fictions contains Ficciones and much more, making it the obvious first choice.


The Aleph

Translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni in collaboration with the author:

1. The Aleph and Other Stories, 1933-1969. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1970, ISBN 052548275X; Paperback, $3.95. Out of print. [Search for a Copy]

Translated by Andrew Hurley:

2. The Aleph and Other Stories. (Includes The Maker.) Penguin Classics, 2004, ISBN 0-14-243788-3; Paperback $14.00. [Browse/Purchase]

3. Collected Fictions: The Aleph. Viking, 1999, ISBN 0-14-028680-2; Paperback $16.95. [Browse/Purchase]

Originally published in 1949, El Aleph was the second collection of Borges’ short stories, many of which had appeared in various Argentine literary magazines. In many ways a “sequel” to Ficciones, the stories of El Aleph find Borges obsessed with the same philosophical themes: the relationship between consciousness and reality, the mystical significance of language and symbols, the mysteries of time and eternity, and the limits of obsession itself. Other familiar elements include copious labyrinths, reviews of fictional books, a casual mixing of reality and invention, and a return to Argentine’s colorful history of gauchos. While all the stories are remarkable to one degree or another, as a whole, El Aleph perhaps lacks the urgency and striking originality of Ficciones – with the notable exceptions of “The Immortal,” “The Zahir,” and “The Aleph,” one of Borges’ most famous creations. Still, it is an essential and important collection.
Although it took a few editions to stabilize, the seventeen stories in the “final” 1952 edition of El Aleph are as follows (the titles are di Giovanni’s):

  • “The Immortal” – A man’s quest for the City of the Immortals brings him face to face with the Absolute.
  • “The Dead Man” – A story of revenge and betrayal among knife-wielding gauchos.
  • “The Theologians” – An exploration of the line between heresy and orthodoxy.
  • “Story of the Warrior and the Captive” – A barbarian who becomes enlightened and a civilized woman who prefers the savage are found to be more similar than not.
  • “A Biography of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz (1829-1874)” – A gloss on the gauchesco poem Martín Fierro.
  • “Emma Zunz” – A tale of justice and displacement.
  • “The House of Asterion” – The inhabitant of an infinite house tells his familiar story.
  • “The Other Death” – The subtle effects upon reality when God grants two deaths to the same man.
  • “Deutsches Requiem” – A convicted and condemned Nazi chillingly justifies his atrocious actions.
  • “Averroës’ Search” – Without a frame of reference, can there be a clear picture of the unknown?
  • “The Zahir” – When a memory becomes a predator, the mind is devoured – but can the soul be so released?
  • “The God’s Script” – In a Spanish prison, an Aztec priest struggles to understand the nature of godhood.
  • “Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrinth” – A “closed-room” murder mystery set in the heart of a domestic maze.
  • “The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths” – A lost page from the Thousand and One Nights.
  • “The Waiting” – An obsessed ex-criminal prepares to meet his enemy.
  • “The Man on the Threshold” – A review of a work of detective fiction concerned with the quest for an unreal person.
  • “The Aleph” – A man trying to recreate the world through poetry shows his friend the Universe below the stairs.

Notes on E. P. Dutton and the first English version of El Aleph
In the late 1960s, the New York publisher E. P. Dutton decided to publish a survey of Borges’ fiction, much of it still unavailable in English. The series was edited and translated by the great Norman Thomas di Giovanni, who worked very closely with Borges in Buenos Aires to produce new translations “in collaboration with the author.” Working together in various sessions from 1967-1972, their goal was to make Borges’ stories “read as though they had been written in English.” Closely connected to Allen Lane and Penguin in the UK, all of Dutton’s editions were published in England shortly after their United States premiere. Eventually Penguin acquired Dutton; but sadly the United States editions were allowed to fall out of print. This was amended in the late 1990s, when new translations were commissioned through Viking, the imprint of Penguin responsible for first publishing Gravity’s Rainbow.
Although a translation of Ficciones had been in print since 1962, its successor was still largely unknown to the English-speaking world. Unfortunately, El Aleph presented a bit of a problem, as Dutton could not secure the translation rights for “Los teólogos,” “Deutsches Requiem,” “La busca de Averroës,” and “El Zahir.” Rather than publishing an incomplete book, Dutton decided to produce a collection that would showcase a broader range of Borges’ fiction. The result was 1970’s The Aleph and Other Stories, 1933-1969. Although the majority of its stories were taken from El Aleph, it was fleshed out with numerous pieces from other sources, including new translations of “The Circular Ruins” and “Death and the Compass.” To round off the collection, Borges provided a section of commentary on the stories, and the book ended with “An Autobiographical Essay,” a substantial piece written by Borges in English with the help of di Giovanni. Many of these new translations appeared in the New Yorker during this time, including the autobiographical essay, and over the next few years Dutton and di Giovanni helped cement Borges’ reputation in the United States.
The Aleph and Other Stories contains the following works:

  • The Aleph
  • Streetcorner Man
  • The Approach to al-Mu’tasim
  • The Circular Ruins
  • The Life of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz (1829-1874)
  • The Two Kings and Their Two Labyrinths
  • The Dead Man
  • The Other Death
  • Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrinth
  • The Man on the Threshold
  • The Challenge
  • The Captive
  • Borges and Myself
  • The Maker
  • The Intruder
  • The Immortals
  • The Meeting
  • Pedro Salvadores
  • Rosendo’s Tale
  • An Autobiographical Essay
  • Commentaries

After the Dutton Aleph went out of print, American readers were forced to wait until 1999 for Viking’s Collected Fictions, which restored the original stories of El Aleph in new Hurley translations. In 2004, the Aleph stories were finally published as an individual book, Penguin Classic’s The Aleph and Other Stories – although a better title might have been Aleph and the Maker, as this 2004 edition also includes the prose pieces from 1960’s El Hacedor!
Alas, the “Autobiographical Essay” has yet to be reprinted – that, along with Borges’ own commentary, makes finding a copy of Dutton’s The Aleph and Other Stories well worth the effort.

El Hacedor (aka: Dreamtigers)

Translated by Mildred Boyer and Harold Morland.

University of Texas Press, 1964, ISBN 0-292-71549-8; Paperback $8.89. [Browse/Purchase]

A collection of poetry and short prose pieces originally published in 1960, Borges considered El Hacedor (The Maker) to be his most intimate work, and his best. It was released in the United States as Dreamtigers in 1964, closely following the publication of Ficciones by Grove Press.
El Hacedor is a brilliant but unusual work, a collection of poems, unsettling parables, and unique prose fragments. All the pieces are short, and a dreamy feeling of dislocation drifts through the entire collection: I imagine Ficciones as reflected in a mirror, submerged under water and shattered into fragments. I would not, however, recommend this book to the Borges beginner; the pieces are more rewarding to someone already familiar with Borges, as they are considerably more personal than his earlier short stories and essays. To the Borges enthusiast, however, El Hacedor provides an invaluable window into the mind of the author, just reaching the end of his middle age and saying farewell to the creative fires of his youth. It would be almost a decade until his next collection of stories, and those would have an entirely different tone; from this point on, Borges generally considered himself a poet.

Personal Anthology

Edited by Anthony Kerrigan, translated by Anthony Kerrigan & others.

Grove Press, 1967, ISBN 0802130771; Paperback $12.00. [Browse/Purchase]

Originally published as Antología Personal by Editorial Sur, S. A., Buenos Aires, in 1961. Published in the United States by Grove Press in 1967.
Personal Anthology is exactly what the title declares – Borges selected these pieces himself to comprise a sample of his various works to date. A combination of short stories, essays, and poetry, the pieces in Personal Anthology were arranged by Borges and Kerrigan to reflect “sympathies and differences” rather than chronological sequence. As all the usual suspects are gathered together – “Death and the Compass,” “A New Refutation of Time,” “The Aleph,” “Borges and I,” and so on – Personal Anthology bears a similarity to the similar Labyrinths, but contains more poetry and less short stories.

  • Foreword (by Anthony Kerrigan, Dublin, 1967)
  • Prologue (by J. L. Borges, Buenos Aires, 16 August 16, 1961)
  • Death and the Compass
  • The Plot
  • The South
  • A Page to Commemorate Colonel Suarez, Victor
  • The Dead Man
  • Matthew 25:30
  • Funes, the Memorious
  • A New Refutation of Time
  • Limits
  • The Circular Ruins
  • Chess
  • The Golem
  • Inferno I, 32
  • The Other Tiger
  • A Yellow Rose
  • Baltasar Gracian
  • To an Old Poet
  • Parable of the Palace
  • The Wall and the Books
  • The Enigma of Edward Fitzgerald
  • Ariosto and the Arabs
  • Averroës’ Search
  • A Soldier of Urbina
  • The Maker
  • Everything and Nothing
  • From Someone to No One
  • Forms of a Legend
  • The Zahir
  • The Aleph
  • The Cyclical Night
  • Allusion to a Ghost of the Eighteen-nineties
  • The Tango
  • Biography of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz
  • The End
  • Story of the Warrior and the Captive
  • The Captive
  • Paradiso XXXI, 108
  • Luke 23
  • The Witness
  • The Modesty of History
  • The Secret Miracle
  • Conjectural Poem
  • The Gifts
  • The Moon
  • The Art of Poetry
  • Borges and I
  • Poem Written in a Copy of Beowulf
  • Editor’s Epilogue: An exchange of letters between Anthony Kerrigan and Alastair Reid

Labyrinths - Selected Stories & Other Writings

Translated by Donald A. Yates, James E. Irby, Anthony Kerrigan, L. A. Murillo, Dudley Fitts, John M. Fein, Harriet de Onás, and Julian Palley.

New Directions, 1962; ISBN 0-8112-0012-4; Paperback $12.95. [Browse/Purchase]

Labyrinths is perhaps the most common Borges collection found in the average bookstore, a tried-and-true introduction to his works with a cover unchanged since John F. Kennedy was President. Composed of selections from his major works, this collection provides an inexpensive overview of Borges’ most important short stories and some of his most pointed essays. It includes most of the stories from Ficciones and El Aleph, and a good number of essays from Discusión and Otras Inquisiciones. It is rounded off by some “parables” taken from El Hacendor. Highly recommended for the absolute beginner.

Brodie’s Report

Translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni in collaboration with the author:

1. Doctor Brodie’s Report. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1972, ISBN 0525475419; Out of Print. [Search for a Copy]

Translated by Andrew Hurley:

2. Collected Stories: Brodie’s Report. Viking, 1999, ISBN 0-14-028680-2, Paperback $16.95. [Browse/Purchase]


UK Edition

Originally published as El Informe de Brodie by Emecé Editores, S.A., Buenos Aires, on 7 August 1970.
Written in the late 1960s in loose collaboration with Norman Thomas di Giovanni, the stories in El Informe de Brodie are surprisingly removed from the mind-bending tales of fabulism found in Ficciones and El Aleph; with few exceptions (the most notable being the title story, fashioned after Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels), these tales are set in a vanished Argentina of gauchos and savage duels, tangos and brothels.
The original Spanish edition contains the following stories, given here with their 1999 Hurley titles:

  • Foreword (by Borges and di Giovanni, Buenos Aires, 29 December 1970)
  • The Interloper
  • Unworthy
  • The Story from Rosendo Juárez
  • The Encounter
  • Juan Muraña
  • The Elderly Lady
  • The Duel
  • The Other Duel
  • Guayaquil
  • The Gospel According to Mark
  • Brodie’s Report

The first English translation was again produced by E. P. Dutton. As with The Aleph and Other Stories, Norman Thomas di Giovanni worked closely with Borges in Buenos Aires to collaborate on translations. As Borges remarks in the Foreword, the writing and translation were essentially simultaneous, producing a set of translations born from the same “mood” as the stories themselves. The titles of the Dutton edition – which names the book Doctor Brodie’s Report – are as follows:

  • Foreword (by J. L. Borges and di Giovanni, Buenos Aires, 29 December 1970)
  • Preface to the First Edition (by J. L. Borges, Buenos Aires, 19 April 1970)
  • The Gospel According to Mark
  • The Unworthy Friend
  • The Duel
  • The End of the Duel
  • Rosendo’s Tale
  • The Intruder
  • The Meeting
  • Juan Muraña
  • The Elder Lady
  • Guayaquil
  • Doctor Brodie’s Report
  • Afterword (by Borges, Buenos Aires, 29 December 1970)
  • Bibliographical Note

The Dutton edition was picked up by Allen Lane/Penguin in England and an Allen Lane UK version came out in 1974; in 1976 it was copyrighted by Penguin, which kept it in print in the UK long after the American original went out of print. In 1999 Andrew Hurley produced a new translation for Viking’s Collected Fictions, dropping the “Doctor” from the title.

The Book of Sand

Translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni and Alastair Reid:

1. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977, ISBN 0525069925; Out of Print. [Search for a Copy]

Translated by Andrew Hurley:

2. Collected Stories: The Book of Sand. Viking, 1999; 0-14-028680-2; Paperback $16.95. [Browse/Purchase]


UK Edition

Originally published as El libro de arena by Emecé Editores, S.A., Buenos Aires, in 1970. The original Spanish edition contains the following stories, given here with their 1999 Hurley titles:

  • The Other
  • Ulrikke
  • The Congress
  • There Are More Things
  • The Sect of the Thirty
  • The Night of the Gifts
  • The Mirror and the Mask
  • “Undr”
  • A Weary Man’s Utopia
  • The Bribe
  • Avelino Arredondo
  • The Disk
  • The Book of Sand
  • Afterword (by J. L. Borges, Buenos Aires, 3 February 1975)

Again, the first English version of this collection was published by E. P. Dutton, with Norman Thomas di Giovanni doing the translation. Oddly, the Dutton edition included “The Gold of the Tigers,” a section of poetry culled from El oro de los tigres and La rosa profunda and translated by Alastair Reid. The titles of the Dutton edition follow the original, although di Giovanni renders the title of the ninth story more poetically as “Utopia of a Tired Man.” The Dutton edition was published in England by Allen Lane/Penguin in 1979. In 1999 Andrew Hurley produced a new translation for Viking’s Collected Fictions. (The UK Penguin version still contains “The Gold of the Tigers.”)

The Library of Babel

Translated by Andrew Hurley, Illustrated by Erik Desmazieres.

David R Godine, 2000, ISBN 156792123X; Hardcover $20.00. [Browse/Purchase]

An illustrated version of Borges’ story “The Library of Babel.”

Everything and Nothing

Translated by Donald A. Yates, James E. Irby, and Eliot Weinberger.

New Directions, 1999; ISBN 0-8112-1400-1 ; Paperback $10.99. [Browse/Purchase]

As with Viking’s Collected Fictions, the release of Everything & Nothing was timed to celebrate the Borges Centennial. Aside from that, there’s not much to say about this modest book, which collects some of Borges most well-known stories and essays:

  • Introduction (by Donald A. Yates)
  • Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote
  • Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
  • The Lottery in Babylon
  • The Garden on Forking Paths
  • Death and the Compass
  • The Wall and the Books
  • Kafka and his Precursors
  • Borges and I
  • Everything and Nothing
  • Nightmares
  • Blindness

Not a bad collection, but it does make one wonder why New Directions didn’t take the opportunity to publish an updated, revised and expanded version of Labyrinths instead....

The “Borges Works” Pages

Works Main Page – Back to the Main Page, where you will find the standard Garden of Forking Paths menu and a “Quick Reference Card” with all the Borges Works titles.

Nonfiction – Collections of essays and lectures.

Poetry – Brief notes for Borges’ poetical works.

Collaborations – Works of fiction and nonfiction created in collaboration with others.

Interviews – Collections of interviews or conversations.

Bibliography – A list of Borges’ short stories with their original titles and publishing information.


–Allen B. Ruch
27 August 2004
(With thanks to Woodall’s Borges: A Life
for providing some publishing details)


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