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Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,402 ratings  ·  96 reviews
Here is a handsome edition of one of Borges' "ficciones," in a translation first published in "Labyrinths" in 1962. It's an important story in the Borges' canon, incorporating most of the author's philosophical and esthetic preoccupations in a typically brief compass. With great solemnity and a convincing array of scholarly detail (including annotated references to imagina ...more
Paperback, 78 pages
Published October 15th 1982 by Porcupine's Quill (first published January 1st 1940)
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Glenn Russell
Apr 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing

Here are my top ten reasons you will enjoy this most inventive and ingenious tale:

1. Fabulist gone wild: This Jorge Luis Borges tale, especially the first few pages, reads like a cross between Philip K. Dick and a bibliophile on acid. There are enough references, many real, many fabricated, to keep a team of researchers burning the midnight oil. My advice: Have fun reading. I sense an author with initials JLB playing literary, metaphysical and many other types of games with his tongue deep in h
Althea Ann
Jun 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
At work, I have a book called "Building the Uqbar Dinghy." It had never occurred to me, although I was aware of this Borges story's existence, that before the publication of this boatbuilding book, there was no such thing as an Uqbar dinghy. Now there is - presumably. Of course, that's exactly what the author was getting at when he titled the book (Borges is credited).

"Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is a wonderful musing on the relationships between ideas, the written word, and reality. The narrat
I have the Collected Fictions (with copious translator's notes), but am splitting my review of that into its components, in publication order: Collected Fictions - all reviews. This is the longest story in The Garden of Forking Paths, and deservedly so, published in 1941.

This is very post-modern, meta, or whatever such term you like, with references to Spinoza and Russell. It’s a first-person narration, mentioning real people, telling of a presumably fictitious group of people who plant clues ab
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
How do you not love a story which states that "any book not containing its counterbook is incomplete" or describes a reality that recedes-and "longs to" recede" from reality?

Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges is a story that baffled, frustrated, intrigued, and ultimately enchanted me. The discovery of an imaginary world whose language consists of verbs and in which there is no past or future excites the imagination. The dry tone in which the fantastic ideas are elaborated lend humor
عماد العتيلي
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
Oh Borges!
this is the very first story I read for Borges, and I'm really astonished!

I recommend it!
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Dense and disorienting. Borges is ambitious and very confident - you'd need to be to attempt something like this. (But perhaps a bit too confident at times; some parts sound glib). Large parts of it read like a thought experiment - a very peculiar one to say the least - and it quite frustrated me in places. But it's strangely very intoxicating.

I certainly wasn't expecting anything like this in the Retro Hugo short story ballot. It really stands out from the other finalists.

Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fictional planet designed by Borges? Yes, please. Borges is the ultimate example of an author's ability to spiral fiction and reality. I guess that's why it's called a Borgesian literary device, imparting a feeling of reality to the fictional and the unreal to the real.

I loved all the details in this, and the attention to language, memories, time, and emotions...they're all different in this made up world of Tlon. But so real.
Erik Erickson
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Wow. This is so short but packed so densely with allegory and competing philosophic ideas. Borges masterfully mixes reality and fiction into rich layers. I'd strongly recommend visiting Wikipedia's entry after your first read. ...more
Andrei Vasilachi
May 04, 2020 rated it liked it

3.5 / 5

A cryptic short story in which Borges imagines a mysterious and fictional planet with different nations in which “Their language, with its derivatives—religion, literature, and metaphysics—presupposes idealism. For them, the world is not a concurrence of objects in space, but a heterogeneous series of independent acts. There are no nouns in the hypothetical Ursprache of Tlön, which is the source of the living language and the dialects; there are impersonal verbs qualified by monosyllabic
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
Bingo N1: South American Classic

*My reaction to the experience of reading this story:

This story is a front runner for " the worst thing I've read in 2017!"

Though I needed to read something to fulfill the "So American" classic square of bingo, after reading that Latin writers use "magical realism" in their writing, I was very reluctant to spend any money on one of these titles, and thank Geezus I didn't!

This book is completely inaccessible to me. This author,Jorge Luis Borges , is probably lauded
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a very nice read/ thinking excercise. It makes you think about what you say, and why you say it; the meaning of words, that (what one would call 'meaning') which an individual attributes to them and that which society attributes to them, as well as the correlation between the two.

The story seems to be written from the viewpoint of an outsider looking in, perhaps an auctorial narrator with a degree in anthropology, sociology and linguistics. It is philosophical, and quite heavy at that, b
Apr 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ibero-american
I haven't read this one. That is to say, I have read it before, but I haven't finished reading it today. Yet. Still, I have this inexplicable urge to say I didn't like it. I'm still not finished, but I DIDN'T like it. And in about half an hour, I'm going to finish it and I'm going to say I didn't like it. No matter how I feel about it, I'm going to say I did't like it.

And I'm wondering...isn't that funny? Isn't it great that I'm allowed to do just that! And isn't it even better that...later...or
кай жук
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Hurley says that the words axaxaxas mlö "can only be pronounced as the author's cruel, mocking laughter". This is a fabulous short story, I am so delighted that it has introduced me to Borges so properly. Highly recommended for philosophy disciples. ...more
Julio Oña
May 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The world is changing, in front of your eyes, but you don't know it. ...more
Eris After Ceres
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn't really get it, but cool I guess. ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school
Y’all,,, the flavour,,,

The people of Tlön believe that all men who repeat a line from Shakespeare ARE William Shakespeare. So, in conclusion, I am Shakespeare.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are stories which you read and leave you feeling shattered emotionally or aesthetically. Such books are a pleasure to read and world literature abounds in such examples.

Then there are works which you read and leave you shattered intellectually. All that you have read, learned and understood seem mere simulacra and pretenses at erudition and scholarship. One feels this all the more so when the author demolishes every established precept you had about the craft of writing in a mere 14 odd pa
Andy Hickman
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius – Jorge Luis Borges (1940)
Subtle dig at psychology and religion. Other than discovering new words this tedious reading was a waste of my time.**

Opening line: “I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia.” (p.146)

“Mirrors and fatherhood are abominable because they multiply and disseminate that universe.” (p.146)

“He was tall and phlegmatic...” (p147)
* Phlegmatic = having an unemotional and stolidly calm disposition}

“... bucolic rural l
Tirthankar Chakraborty
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This surreal short story explores the relationship between language, ideas, and logic.

In it, the author, through a first-person narrative, describes his discovery of a pseudo-fictional world contained within obscure works of literature planted by individuals in power. The book goes into baffling and dense descriptions of the dominant, yet multi-faceted and contradictory, narrative in the imaginary world of Tlön. There is an internal struggle for consistency that is never allowed to develop just
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Michael Delahoyde from the Washington State University wrote about this text: "Philology here takes on the fascination and energy of detective work.". It does and it's so great. I really loved every single word (even though I think I should read it one more time, so things are still confused in my head :))
Marion Hall
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This has to be the shortest book ever, where reality and fiction are so confused that it is difficult to tell which is which. It is packed with philosophical ideas - it needs to be read more than once. I hate to admit this, but I needed Wikipedia to help me understand which characters were real and which weren't. ...more
Sukanya Parashar
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This short read is too confusing ( I could say mind fuck at times ) that I had to read it twice to draw any conclusions ( chances are I may read it again ).

It has manifold levels of philosophical ideas and subtleties that you just couldn't guess what is real and what's not. It makes you think and challenge everything around. So if you are interested in such thinking exercises just go for it.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read an online version of this text, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is in fact a subtle but intoxicating work--I still remember almost every passage, and can recall every detail of the story, even after many years.
Mary D
Oct 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommendation: Read the Wikipedia first, drop some acid, then attempt this story. This is a bit much for my pedestrian tastes. His other stories are more accessible than this one (at least for me).
Hawk .
Jun 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
the best thing I've ever read in my whole life. there are no words to describe it, and the many levels of reading it can have. ...more
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mind blowing! A brave new world, yes there are other possibilities for our parallel universes.
John Robinson
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Borges at his best. Up there with The Garden of Forking Paths.
Andy Anaya
Apr 03, 2015 rated it liked it
DENSE and chewy. A must-read.
Christopher Garcia
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While we sleep here, we are awake somewhere else.
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Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo, usually referred to as Jorge Luis Borges (Spanish pronunciation: [xoɾxe lwis boɾxes]), was an Argentine writer and poet born in Buenos Aires. In 1914, his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school and traveled to Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals. He also wo ...more

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