Erik Graff's Reviews > Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings

Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges
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Dec 27, 10

bookshelves: literature
Recommended to Erik by: Martin Steinfels, Mike Miley
Recommended for: everyone
Read in January, 1970, read count: 1

This is the first Borges book I ever read. Since then, of course, he's died and all of his short stories have been collected in English. Mike Miley, the person who spends more money on books than anyone I've ever known (and is very generous in sharing them), purchased that complete collection, bringing it up to the cottage in Michigan during his last visit. When I saw it amidst Michael's travel bags (a small one for clothes, a big one for books and papers) I immediately asked if I could have at it. Permission granted, I probably got through the whole thing--and it's long--in a couple of evenings and nights by the wood-burning stove. Thus, all of the Labyrinths stories have been read at least twice now.

What I particularly like about Borges is his creative erudition. Not only is he good at mimicking the style, say, of a early sixteenth century Spanish bureaucrat, but he cleverly mingles the real with the fantastical in his often copious references, notes and asides. It makes one wonder who is to be credited for the technique which is also employed by the American authors James Branch Cabell and H.P. Lovecraft.
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Jean-marcel The technique you mentioned did remind me more than a little of Poe, especially his more hoaxish stories like "The Unparalled Adventures of Hans Pfal" and...the story about the chess automaton, whose name I can't remember.


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