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Collected Fictions
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Borges Stories - M.R. 2013 > Questions, Resources, & General Banter - Borges Stories

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message 1: by Jim (last edited May 23, 2013 12:47AM) (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges is considered to be one of the originators of magical realism fiction in Latin America. In 1954, critic Ángel Flores, the first to use the term “magical realism”, suggested the movement began with Borges' 1935 collection, Historia universal de la infamia (A Universal History of Infamy).

We will be reading a selection of his short stories in between our Magic Realism novels. Check the schedule for titles and discussion weeks.

Wikipedia entry for Borges:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Lu...


Wikipedia bibliography for Borges:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Lu...

EDIT: The Invention of Morel has been added to the end or our schedule for Borges - the week of December 2, 2013.

Feel free to use this thread to ask questions and post links to resources for Jorge Luis Borges and his short stories.

Also, if you’ve written a review of his work, please post a link to share with the group.


Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments The only edition of The Fictions that's available on the Nook (and probably on any e-reader) is Ficciones, which is the original, untranslated edition.

Borges is so popular in the US -- I'm surprised that they don't have the translated edition on the Nook.

Does anyone know if this particular story is available in one of his other collections, translated to English, which may be available in e-format??

I knew I should have paid more attention in my Spanish classes!!


message 3: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Barbara wrote: "The only edition of The Fictions that's available on the Nook (and probably on any e-reader) is Ficciones, which is the original, untranslated edition.

Borges is so popular in the US -- I'm surpr..."


It's strange, but Borges has only been digitized in Spanish. Luckily, the Penguin Fictions is a thin book, and so easy on the wrists. His Collected Fictions is 565 pages, but contains all of his work, so if you can manage, I'd go with this one.


Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments Thanks Jim! I'll head over to Barnes & Noble to see which edition would be better. Are we going to be reading stories here from the Penguin Fictions, or from the 565 page Collected Fictions??


message 5: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Barbara wrote: "Thanks Jim! I'll head over to Barnes & Noble to see which edition would be better. Are we going to be reading stories here from the Penguin Fictions, or from the 565 page Collected Fictions??"

Plan is to read primarily from Fictions, but I will also be looking through A Universal History of Iniquity which contains some of his earliest short stories. Those early stories are also included in Collected Fictions. So, keeping the wrist situation in mind, you would be fine with Fictions, but if you'd like to have access to all of his short stories, go with Collected Fictions.


Ellie (elliearcher) Interesting article on DFW in the TLS


Whitney | 326 comments Ellie wrote: "Interesting article on DFW in the TLS"

Ellie - could you translate for the acronym impaired?


message 8: by Jim (last edited Mar 18, 2013 06:59AM) (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "Ellie wrote: "Interesting article on DFW in the TLS"

Ellie - could you translate for the acronym impaired?"


My guess was "David Foster Wallace in the Times Literary Supplement". I further guessed that there must be some link to the work of Borges, but I didn't want to jump to any conclusions (plus there's no link)!!


EDIT: Poof! Just like that I found it on my own. I feel so empowered, LOL!

http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/a...


message 9: by Whitney (last edited Mar 18, 2013 07:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Whitney | 326 comments Jim wrote: "EDIT: Poof! Just like that I found it on my own. I feel so empowered, LOL!
http://www.the-tls.co.uk/tls/public/a... .."


Ah, thanks. Is there a JLB / DFW connection that I'm not aware of, or should this be over in the DFW section? Borges gets one non-essential mention in the article, from what I skimmed.

I should add that I didn't participate in the DFW activities, so forgive my ignorance on the subject.


message 10: by Jim (last edited Mar 18, 2013 07:16AM) (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "Ah, thanks. Is there a JLB / DFW connection that I'm not aware of, or should this be over in the DFW section? Borges gets one non-essential mention in the article, from what I skimmed..."

De nada...

Well, it depends which universe you want to apply here. In the generally agreed upon idea of reality, then yes, Ellie's post should be over with the Wallace links. However, let's assume we're instead looking at this through the perspective of the Borgesean universe, in which case, this is a perfectly logical place to discuss a review about a biography that mentions in passing a review by Wallace of a biography about Borges and the perceived shortcomings of said Borges biography, sí?


Whitney | 326 comments Yes, yes, you're right. It's so obvious now that you point it out. I feel a fool, please excuse my perceptual limitations.


message 12: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "Yes, yes, you're right. It's so obvious now that you point it out. I feel a fool, please excuse my perceptual limitations."

No need to feel foolish, but perhaps if you were to read Pierre Menard's Quixote*, this would all snap into place, LOL!!!!



*Can be found in the 'Fictions' book and the 'Collected Fictions' book. One of Borges' funnier pieces.


Whitney | 326 comments Jim wrote: "No need to feel foolish, but perhaps if you were to read Pierre Menard's Quixote*, this would all snap into place, LOL!!!!
..."


Now THIS post belongs over in the House of Leaves discussion, per the agreed upon Borgesian Universal Logic.


*See footnotes 49 and 50 in HOL.


message 14: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "Now THIS post belongs over in the House of Leaves discussion, per the agreed upon Borgesian Universal Logic.


*See footnotes 49 and 50 in HOL..."


Of course!! How could I have missed that, especially since I have that page marked.

There's a big winter storm blowing through right now and I'm home alone in this creaking old farm house. Wait a minute! I never noticed that staircase before. I wonder where it goes.......


Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments Jim wrote: "Barbara wrote: "Thanks Jim! I'll head over to Barnes & Noble to see which edition would be better. Are we going to be reading stories here from the Penguin Fictions, or from the 565 page Collected ..."

Fictions (the smaller version) and A Universal History of Iniquity are both less than 200 pages, so I will probably get each of these, as opposed to the over-500-page Collected Fictions.

Nothing that I've been wanting to read lately has been available in an e-reader format. I just read four "printed books" in a row -- Marlowe's Faustus, Goethe's Faust, The Master and Margarita, and now I'm reading The Magic Mountain in the paperback edition.

After The Magic Mountain, I'm going to try to stick to books on the Nook for a while. (Reading the Borges stories in printed editions is fine, because they're short stories.) One Hundred Years of Solitude is NOT available in e-read format, which I am very bummed out about.

BUT, thank goodness 1Q84, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and Midnight's Children are all available on the Nook.

(Sorry that I mentioned books that have nothing to do with this thread. I'm just surprised at the amount of great books -- One Hundred Years of Solitude being a perfect example -- are not available in e-format.)


Whitney | 326 comments Barbara wrote: "(Sorry that I mentioned books that have nothing to do with this thread. I'm just surprised at the amount of great books -- One Hundred Years of Solitude being a perfect example -- are not available in e-format.)..."

Personally, I don't have an ethical problem with downloading books in epub format if I already own them in hard copy, especially if the epub is not available legally. (Not looking for a big debate, just saying this is where I allow some digital age wiggle room to enter my life, your mileage may vary).


message 17: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: " especially if the epub is not available legally..."

I didn't hear that - la la la la la!!!

Off the record, I think ebooks are overpriced, especially for older books like 100 Years of Solitude. New books, okay since they're looking for a return on investment, but 100 Years is 46 years old. They should be pricing those at $1 or $2 at most.

@Barbara - I suppose the publishers' accountants have some calculation about the cost of digitizing a text versus the probability of selling enough copies to earn a profit. Amongst the younger reading demographics, Marquez is ancient history (and doesn't have any teen vampires) and so maybe he's not a good investment.

Anyway, I received my copy of A Universal History of Iniquity yesterday and read the intro last night. These are stories from 1933-34 and are violence-laden, so I'm curious to see how to work them into our MR reading.


message 18: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Paris Review interview with Borges from 1966:


http://www.theparisreview.org/intervi...


message 19: by Ryan (new) - added it

Ryan Saunders | 8 comments Jim wrote:I received my copy of A Universal History of Iniquity yesterday and read the intro last night. These are stories from 1933-34 and are violence-laden, so I'm curious to see how to work them into our MR reading.
Yeah, I was wondering how these stories will fit after I read them last week. There's not much magic realism in them that I could see for including them in the discussion.


Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments Whitney wrote: "Barbara wrote: "(Sorry that I mentioned books that have nothing to do with this thread. I'm just surprised at the amount of great books -- One Hundred Years of Solitude being a perfect example -- a..."

Whitney, I'm so clueless. I don't know how to download a book from a printed copy. (Is this something that's easy to do? Am I the only person in the world who doesn't know how to do this?)

Jim, maybe they won't get as much of a return on their investment, but aren't people still reading books like One Hundred Years of Solitude? It's still an incredibly popular book!

As I've probably mentioned, I work in the music magazine business, and NO ONE buys printed mags anymore. If a mag doesn't have a digital format, the advertisers are not interested. So I guess I just thought the same thing would happen with books -- that eventually all books would be available for e-readers.

My experience with reading the 706 pages of The Magic Mountain (although I'm only on pg 250), is that it's hurting my wrists, and since I can't adjust the size of the text, it's hurting my eyes. Also, when you come across a character on page 400 and the last time this character was mentioned was on page 100, it's helpful to have a Nook because you can just type the name into the search engine and it brings up all the pages that this character is mentioned.

I REALLY LIKE ALL THESE FEATURES. Master & Margarita, The Magic Mountain, and Faust would have been much better experiences (in spite of the fact that I love all three) if I could have read them on my Nook.

OK, I'll stop whining. I am very happy that Borges' Fictions is less than 200 pages, but I may not get to read his stories until the second or third Borges read in the group. (Which I think is sometime in April or May???)

So, based on what was mentioned in the above posts, it seems that Fictions is all Magical Realism but A Universal History of Iniquity is not Magical Realism?? I thought MR was "the" style of Borges.


Whitney | 326 comments Barbara, I love nook for all the reasons you mentioned. Tiny text, lousy and tiny fonts, and trying to remember where the heck in the book that character was mentioned before, The last is my test for ebook lovers, I ask people if they can easily flip back to a remembered scene in a book, those who say they can tend to dislike ereaders, those who can't love them. But we digress :-)

Sending you a PM about your other comments, since I believe I tread on shaky ground.


message 22: by Jim (last edited Mar 21, 2013 01:32AM) (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Barbara wrote: "I may not get to read his stories until the second or third Borges read in the group. (Which I think is sometime in April or May???)..."

Remember, we will not be reading all of his stories. Only 7 short stories scheduled between 7 novels, and so several weeks between each. Of all the things we read in Brain Pain, Borges will be the easiest, schedule-wise.

So, based on what was mentioned in the above posts, it seems that Fictions is all Magical Realism but A Universal History of Iniquity is not Magical Realism?? I thought MR was "the" style of Borges.

Magical Realism can be defined very narrowly to a group of Latin American writers of the 1950's-70's and beyond, - or - you can do what we're doing, which is expanding the concept to include realist fiction with magical elements from around the globe and over the millennia. In the stricter definition, Borges is often referred to as a "proto-magical realist".

For our purposes, he's just plain part of the project and let the academics be damned*!



(*Is that a strong enough sentiment? Or should I use profanity??)


Ellie (elliearcher) Jim wrote: "Whitney wrote: "Ellie wrote: "Interesting article on DFW in the TLS"

Ellie - could you translate for the acronym impaired?"

My guess was "David Foster Wallace in the Times Literary Supplement". I..."


Thanks Jim-I couldn't figure out how to paste the link. And I apologize for the TLS abbreviation.


message 24: by Bill (new)

Bill (BillGNYC) | 443 comments Jim,

You did use profanity. If you want to up it, you'll have to move to obscenity. :-)

Some of my best friends are academics, though.


message 25: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Bill wrote: "Some of my best friends are academics, though."

Mine too. I should probably point the dirty end of the stick at the reviewer/marketer types instead.


message 26: by Bill (last edited Mar 22, 2013 01:23PM) (new)

Bill (BillGNYC) | 443 comments I'm a marketer. And for a brief period time many, many years ago I did some arts reviewing in a small way, nothing for anyone who stayed in business very long.

I only reviewed one book, though. It was total crap and meretricious (I'm making a distinction -- it was both.) Then I decided I would never review anything that was total crap again unless it was by someone famous. :-)


message 27: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 9 comments For those finding it difficult to get translated versions I found his entire fictions online for free. Someone obviously put it up.

Those interested in finding this must type 'jorge luis borges pdf free Andrew Hurley' into the search bar in google. The third link is a pdf file approx 256 pages long.


message 28: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Zee wrote: "For those finding it difficult to get translated versions I found his entire fictions online for free. Someone obviously put it up.

Those interested in finding this must type 'jorge luis borges p..."


Thanks Zee!


Ellie (elliearcher) Thanks!


Matthew | 86 comments Excellent Zee! Thanks!


message 31: by James (new) - added it

James | 61 comments I appreciate the link Zee.


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) Jim -- have you made a decision on the TBD Borges stories?


message 33: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Nathan "N.R." wrote: "Jim -- have you made a decision on the TBD Borges stories?"

Not yet. Any specific requests?


Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) Jim wrote: "Not yet. Any specific requests?"

Nope. But I might could think on it a bit later.


message 35: by James (new) - added it

James | 61 comments Between the PDF link that Zee shared and reading the first page of the first story, I think I'm going to have to plunk some cash down for the Viking collection. I'd be open to any of the volumes then.


message 36: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
James wrote: "Between the PDF link that Zee shared and reading the first page of the first story, I think I'm going to have to plunk some cash down for the Viking collection. I'd be open to any of the volumes then."

Borges is a good investment, so plunk away!

Looking at my notes, the four other stories I had penciled in were:

Funes, His Memory
Death and the Compass
The Secret Miracle
The South

After skimming A Universal History of Iniquity, I think his later stories are meatier, so if no one minds, we'll skip AUHoI for now.


message 37: by Bill (last edited Apr 01, 2013 07:44PM) (new)

Bill (BillGNYC) | 443 comments I think you should add "Pierre Menard" because it expresses so much of what talking about books is about -- the punch line (and that's probably the word) is really one of my favorites in all literature.

Also, "The Garden of the Forking Paths". But frankly I think Borges is major, truly major, Ficciones is short, and we should just read them all in order.

It doesn't seem a burden. You wouldn't have to change schedules -- those who didn't want to read them all could still continue with the next magical realism novel and others could do both and Borges fans could do Borges.

But I realize I'm late to the party with that idea.


message 38: by Zadignose (new)

Zadignose | 444 comments I always thought I'd like Borges, I was excited when I received a book delivery including Labyrinths, I read one story (Tlon, Uqbar, etc.), was annoyed, put it down, and never went back.

Maybe I'll try again.

And while we're being profane and vulgar, a fig for academics!


message 39: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Bill wrote: "Ficciones is short, and we should just read them all in order.

It doesn't seem a burden. You wouldn't have to change schedules -- those who didn't want to read them all could still continue with the next magical realism novel and others could do both.

But I realize I'm late to the party with that idea..."


As my mom used to say "better late than never!"

There are 17 stories in Fictions/Ficciones. I can modify the schedule so we read/discuss one story every other week. Then we will have Borges with us from April thru November, adding in some extra flavor throughout the MR novels.

I suspect there won't be any objections among the Borges fans, and so I'll modify the schedule over the weekend.


@Zadignose - Borges can be a bit annoying at first. He sometimes writes in a spare, unsatisfying style, but give him some time and you will find his work worth reading again.


Whitney | 326 comments Jim wrote: "Bill wrote: "Ficciones is short, and we should just read them all in order.

It doesn't seem a burden. You wouldn't have to change schedules -- those who didn't want to read them all could still co..."


Yay! I'm all for reading them all, as you predicted for Borges fans. And I completely agree about Pierre Menard. It came up briefly in another discussion, and I think it's particularly relevant to BP, especially with novels where levels of authorship come into play.


message 41: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Whitney wrote: "And I completely agree about Pierre Menard. It came up briefly in another discussion, and I think it's particularly relevant to BP, especially with novels where levels of authorship come into play..."

I laughed a lot the first time I read Pierre Menard! Very funny and very much a proto-post-modern perspective.

I revised and posted the new Borges schedule.


message 42: by Rise (new) - added it

Rise I've read the Ficciones translations from Grove Press. I don't have this copy anymore but I still have Labyrinths. I might read that.

Here are some online links to his works.

http://bolanoread.blogspot.com/2011/1...
http://bolanoread.blogspot.com/2011/0...
http://bolanoread.blogspot.com/2011/1...


message 43: by Jim (new) - added it

Jim | 3055 comments Mod
Rise wrote: "I've read the Ficciones translations from Grove Press. I don't have this copy anymore but I still have Labyrinths. I might read that.

Here are some online links to his works.

http://bolanoread.bl..."


Thank you for the links!


message 44: by Alexander (last edited Apr 01, 2013 07:40PM) (new)

Alexander Rose (aroseinmktg) | 11 comments Just started Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. It's been a while since I've grabbed my copy of Collected Fictions, but I always get the same feeling when I do. Slightly ominous, but excited, like I'm reading something taboo. Beyond the sheer oddity of his stories, it's my favorite part about him: that his book actually evokes the feelings he often writes about experiencing.

Glad this was on the list!


message 45: by Bill (new)

Bill (BillGNYC) | 443 comments BORGES: The Last Interview -- available April 30 on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Jorge-Luis-Borg...

I ordered one, just took the plunge.


Barbara (barbarasc) | 249 comments I'm glad that a decision was made to read 17 as opposed to 7 of Borges stories. I may not be able to join in until late April, so now I'll be missing less.

Collected Fictions is around 500 pages, so I would prefer to get one of the smaller editions as long as the smaller editions have all of the stories we'll be discussing. I'm not going to get Labyrinths because I already know that it doesn't have all of the stories we'll be reading.

Here are the two editions I found in a search here on Goodreads:

1) Fictions published by Penguin Modern Classics. The paperback edition is 179 pages and the translator is Andrew Hurley.

2) Ficciones published by Grove Press. The paperback edition is 180 pages and the translators are Anthony Kerrigan and Anthony Bonner.

Do both of these editions have all seventeen stories? Which of these two will most of the group be using?

I was at a small bookshop last night and didn't see either of these there. There were a few other Borges collections, and the bookseller told me that Labyrinths is his favorite. But there was at least one story from our original list that was not included in Labyrinths, so I'd like to get either Ficciones or Fictions (if I can find them -- the bookseller in this small shop last night told me that he doesn't think they're in print anymore!!!)


message 47: by Alexander (new)

Alexander Rose (aroseinmktg) | 11 comments Grabbing the big book of collected fictions translated by Hurley is well worth the investment for any library, in my opinion. I haven't looked at the others, though. Any Borges is good Borges.


Whitney | 326 comments Barbara wrote: "Do both of these editions have all seventeen stories? Which of these two will most of the group be using?..."

I am reading the Grove Press Ficciones (which has all the stories). My copy is dog-eared, the cover is faded, the pages are getting very yellow, and I will give it up when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.


message 49: by Rise (new) - added it

Rise I looked at Labyrinths and it appears it lacks 4 stories:

"The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim"
"A Survey of the Works of Herbert Quain"
"The End"
"The South"


message 50: by Rise (new) - added it

Rise On the issue of translation, here is Alberto Manguel's critical review of Collected Fictions - http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/1999/...

"Hurley has no ear for the rhythms of Borges's language. 'Funes el memorioso' is for Hurley 'Funes, His Memory' which is both inaccurate and ugly. 'Hombre de la Esquina Rosada' becomes 'Man on Pink Corner', in inexplicable pidgin English. 'The Circular Ruins', whose perfect prose can be recited like a poem, begins felicitously in Hurley's rendition with 'No one saw him slip from the boat in the unanimous night' and then sinks ignominiously with 'no one saw the bamboo canoe' and its inappropriate rhyme. A number of stories have been decently translated and are as readable as the best among the earlier versions, but mere readability is not good enough."

And here's an informative survey of responses to the collection - http://www.complete-review.com/quarte...


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