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17 avril 2012 2 17 /04 /avril /2012 03:21

Kodama also rescinded all publishing rights for existing collections of his work in English, including the translations by Norman Thomas di Giovanni, in which Borges himself collaborated, and from which di Giovanni would have received an unusually high fifty percent of the royalties. Kodama commissioned new translations by Andrew Hurley which have become the standard translations in English.[37]HP Pavilion dv3-2130ef Battery


In an interview with Richard Burgin during the late 1960s, Borges described himself as an adherent of Classical Liberalism. He further recalled that his opposition to Marxism andCommunism was absorbed in his childhood. "Well, I have been brought up to think that the individual should be strong and the State should be weak. I couldn't be enthusiastic about theories where the State is more important than the individual."[38]HP Pavilion dv3-2130ei Battery

 After the overthrow viacoup d'etat of President Juan Domingo Perón in 1955, Borges supported efforts to purge Argentina's Government of Peronists and dismantle the former President's welfare state. He was enraged that the Communist Party of Argentina opposed these measures and sharply criticized them in lectures and in print. HP Pavilion dv3-2130es Battery

Borges' opposition to the Party in this matter ultimately led to a permanent rift with his longtime lover, Argentine CommunistEstela Canto.[39] In later years, Borges frequently expressed contempt for Marxists and Communists within the Latin American intelligentsia. In an interview with Burgin, HP Pavilion dv3-2130ez Battery

Borges referred to Chilean Pablo Neruda as "a very fine poet," but a "very mean man" for unconditionally supporting the Soviet Union and demonizing the United States.[40] During the 1970s, Borges at first expressed support for Argentina's military junta, but was scandalized by the junta's actions during the Dirty War. In protest against their support of the regime, Borges ceased publishing in the newspaper La Nación.[41]HP Pavilion dv3-2131tx Battery



In 1934, Argentine ultra-nationalists, sympathetic to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, asserted Borges was secretly Jewish, and by implication, not a "true" Argentine. Borges responded with the essay "Yo, Judío" ("I, a Jew"), a reference to the old "Yo, Argentino" ("I, an Argentine"),HP Pavilion dv3-2133tx Battery

a defensive phrase used during pogroms of Argentine Jews to make it clear to attackers that an intended victim was not Jewish.[42] In the essay he notes, that he would be proud to be a Jew, with a backhanded reminder that any "pure" Castilian might be likely to have Jewish ancestry from a millennium ago.[42]HP Pavilion dv3-2135tx Battery

Both before and during the Second World War, Borges regularly published essays attacking the Nazi police state and its racist ideology. His outrage was fueled by his deep love for German literature. In an essay published in 1937, HP Pavilion dv3-2136tx Battery

Borges attacked the Nazi Party's use of children's books in order to inflame antisemitism. He wrote, "I don't know if the world can do without German civilization, but I do know that its corruption by the teachings of hatred is a crime."[43]HP Pavilion dv3-2137tx Battery

In a 1938 essay, Borges reviewed an anthology which rewrote German authors of the past to fit the Nazi party line. He was disgusted by what he describes as Germany's "chaotic descent into darkness" and the attendant re-writing of history. HP Pavilion dv3-2139tx Battery

He argues that such books sacrifice culture, history and honesty in the name of defending German honour. Such practices, he writes, "perfect the criminal arts of barbarians."[44] In a 1944 essay, Borges postulated, HP Pavilion dv3-2138tx Battery

"Nazism suffers from unreality, like Erigena's hell. It is uninhabitable; men can only die for it, lie for it, wound and kill for it. No one, in the intimate depths of his being, can wish it to triumph. I shall risk this conjecture: HP Pavilion dv3-2140eo Battery

Hitler wants to be defeated. Hitler is blindly collaborating with the inevitable armies that will annihilate him, as the metal vultures and the dragon, (which must have known that they were monsters), collaborated, mysteriously, with Hercules."[45]HP Pavilion dv3-2140ei Battery

In 1946, Borges published the short story, "Deutsches Requiem," which masquerades as the last testament of Otto Dietrich zur Linde, a condemned Nazi war criminal. In a 1967 interview with Burgin, Borges recalled how his interactions with Argentina's Nazi sympathisers led him to create the story. HP Pavilion dv3-2144tx Battery

And then I realized that those people that were on the side of Germany, that they never thought of German victories or the German glory. What they really liked was the idea of theBlitzkrieg, of London being on fire, of the country being destroyed. HP Pavilion dv3-2145tx Battery

As to the German fighters, they took no stock in them. Then I thought, well now Germany has lost, now America has saved us from this nightmare, but since nobody can doubt on which side I stood, I'll see what can be done from a literary point of view in favor of the Nazis. And then I created the ideal Nazi.[46]HP Pavilion dv3-2146tx Battery


In 1946, President Juan Domingo Perón began transforming Argentina into a Justicialistregime with the assistance of his wife Evita. Almost immediately, the spoils system was the rule of the day, as ideological critics of the new order were dismissed from government jobs. HP Pavilion dv3-2147tx Battery

During this period, Borges was informed that he was being "promoted" from his position at the Miguel Cané Library to a post as inspector of poultry and rabbits at the Buenos Aires municipal market. Upon demanding to know the reason, Borges was told, "Well, you were on the side of the Allies, what do you expect?"[47] The following day, Borges resigned from Government service in response to an insult he would never forget, or forgive. HP Pavilion dv3-2149tx Battery

Peron's treatment of Borges became a cause célèbre for the Argentine intelligentsia. The Argentine Society of Writers (SADE) held a formal dinner in his honour. At the dinner, a speech was read which Borges had written for the occasion. It said, HP Pavilion dv3-2150ec Battery

"Dictatorships breed oppression, dictatorships breed servility, dictatorships breed cruelty; more loathsome still is the fact that they breed idiocy. Bellboys babbling orders, portraits ofcaudillos, prearranged cheers or insults, walls covered with names, HP Pavilion dv3-2150ej Battery

unanimous ceremonies, mere discipline usurping the place of clear thinking... Fighting these sad monotonies is one of the duties of a writer. Need I remind readers of Martín Fierro or Don Segundo that individualism is an old Argentine virtue."[48]HP Pavilion dv3-2150el Battery

In the aftermath, Borges found himself much in demand as a lecturer and one of the intellectual leaders of the Argentine opposition. In 1951 he was asked by anti-Peronist friends to run for president of SADE. Borges, then suffering from depression caused by a failed romance, reluctantly accepted. HP Pavilion dv3-2150ep Battery

He later recalled that he would awake every morning and remember that Peron was President and feel deeply depressed and ashamed.[49]Peron's government had seized control of the Argentine mass media and regarded SADE with indifference. Borges later recalled, however, "Many distinguished men of letters did not dare set foot inside its doors."[50] HP Pavilion dv3-2150es Battery

Meanwhile, SADE became an increasing refuge for critics of the regime. SADE official Luisa Mercedes Levinson noted, "We would gather every week to tell the latest jokes about the ruling couple and even dared to sing the songs of the French Resistance, as well as 'La Marseillaise'."[50]HP Pavilion dv3-2150ev Battery

After Evita's death on July 26, 1952, Borges received a visit from two policemen, who ordered him to put up two portraits of the ruling couple on the premises of SADE. Borges indignantly refused, calling it a ridiculous demand. HP Pavilion dv3-2150tx Battery

The policemen icily retorted that he would soon face the consequences.[51] The regime placed Borges under 24-hour surveillance and sent policemen to sit in on his lectures; in September it ordered SADE to be permanently closed down. Like much of the Argentine opposition to Peron, SADE had become marginalized due to persecution by the State, and very few active members remained. HP Pavilion dv3-2150us Battery

According to Edwin Williamson,

Borges had agreed to stand for the presidency of the SADE in order [to] fight for intellectual freedom, but he also wanted to avenge the humiliation he believed he had suffered in 1946, when the Peronists had proposed to make him an inspector of chickens. HP Pavilion dv3-2154ca Battery

In his letter of 1950 to Attilio Rossi, he claimed that his infamous promotion had been a clever way the Peronists had found of damaging him and diminishing his reputation. The closure of the SADE meant that the Peronists had damaged him a second time, HP Pavilion dv3-2155ee Battery

as was borne out by the visit of the Spanish writer Julián Marías, who arrived in Buenos Airesshortly after the closure of SADE. It was impossible for Borges, as president, to hold the usual reception for the distinguished visitor; instead, one of Borges' friends brought a lamb from his ranch, and they had it roasted at a tavern across the road from the SADE building on Calle Mexico. HP Pavilion dv3-2157cl Battery

After dinner, a friendly janitor let them into the premises, and they showed Marías around by candlelight. That tiny group of writers leading a foreign guest through a dark building by the light of guttering candles was vivid proof of the extent to which the SADE had been diminished under the rule of Juan Peron.[52]HP Pavilion dv3-2160eo Battery

On September 16, 1955, General Pedro Eugenio Aramburu's "Revolución Libertadora" forced Peron to flee into exile. Borges was overjoyed and joined demonstrators marching through the streets of Buenos Aires. HP Pavilion dv3-2175ee Battery

According to Williamson, Borges shouted, "Viva la Patria," until his voice grew hoarse. At his mother's prompting, the Aramburu regime appointed Borges as the Director of the National Library.[53][dead link]HP Pavilion dv3-2200 Battery

In his subsequent essay l'Illusion Comique, Borges denounced the conspiracy theorieswhich the Peronist State had spread through the press and speeches. In conclusion, he wrote, HP Pavilion dv3-2225TX Battery

...one can only denounce the duplicity of the fictions of the former regime, which can't be believed and were believed. It will be said that the public's lack of sophistication is enough to explain the contradiction; I believe that the cause is more profound. HP Pavilion dv3-2301tu Battery

Coleridge spoke of the "willing suspension of disbelief," that is, poetic faith; Samuel Johnson said, in defense of Shakespeare, that the spectators at a tragedy do not believe they are in Alexandria in the first act and Rome in the second, HP Pavilion dv3-2303tx Battery

but submit to the pleasure of a fiction. Similarly, the lies of a dictatorship are neither believed nor disbelieved; they pertain to an intermediate plane, and their purpose is to conceal or justify sordid or atrocious realities.[54]HP Pavilion dv3-2301tx Battery

In a 1967 interview, Borges said, "Peron was a humbug, and he knew it, and everybody knew it. But Peron could be very cruel. I mean, he had people tortured, killed. And his wife was a common prostitute."[55]HP Pavilion dv3-2304tx Battery

When Peron returned from exile in 1973 and regained the Presidency, Borges was enraged. In a 1975 interview for National Geographic, he said "Damn, the snobs are back in the saddle. If their posters and slogans again defile the city, I'll be glad I've lost my sight. Well, they can't humiliate me as they did before my books sold well."[56] HP Pavilion dv3-2305tx Battery

After being accused of being unforgiving, Borges quipped, "I resented Peron's making Argentina look ridiculous to the world... as in 1951, HP Pavilion dv3-2307tx Battery

when he announced control over thermonuclear fusion, which still hasn't happened anywhere but in the sun and the stars. For a time, Argentinians hesitated to wear band aids for fear friends would ask, 'Did the Atomic Bombgo off in your hand?' A shame, because Argentina really has world class scientists."[56]HP Pavilion dv3-2306tx Battery

After Borges' death in 1986, the Peronist Partido Justicialista declined to send a delegate to the writer's memorial service in Buenos Aires. A spokesman for the Party stated that this was in reaction to "certain declarations he had made about the country."[57] HP Pavilion dv3-2308tx Battery

One Peronist declared that Borges had made statements about Evita Peron which were "unacceptable." Later, at the City Council of Buenos Aires, a storm raged when Peronist politicians decided to give only conditional support for a condolence on the writer's death.[57]HP Pavilion dv3-2309tx Battery

Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort argue that Borges "may have been the most important figure in Spanish-language literature since Cervantes. But whatever his particular literary rank, he was clearly of tremendous influence, writing intricate poems, short stories, and essays that instantiated concepts of dizzying power."[58]HP Pavilion dv3-2310ea Battery

In addition to short stories for which he is most noted, Borges also wrote poetry, essays, screenplays, literary criticism, and edited numerous anthologies. His longest work of fiction was a 14-page story, "The Congress", first published in 1971.[10] HP Pavilion dv3-2310er Battery

His late-onset blindness strongly influenced his later writing. Borges wrote: "When I think of what I've lost, I ask, 'Who know themselves better than the blind?' – for every thought becomes a tool."[59] Paramount among his intellectual interests are elements of mythology, mathematics, theology, integrating these through literature, sometimes playfully, sometimes with great seriousness.[citation needed]HP Pavilion dv3-2310sw Battery

Borges composed poetry throughout his life. As his eyesight waned (it came and went, with a struggle between advancing age and advances in eye surgery), he increasingly focused on writing poetry, since he could memorize an entire work in progress. HP Pavilion dv3-2310tx Battery

 His poems embrace the same wide range of interests as his fiction, along with issues that emerge in his critical works and translations, and from more personal musings. For example, his interest idealism is reflected in the fictional world of Tlön in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius",HP Pavilion dv3-2311tx Battery

in his essay "A New Refutation of Time", "On Exactitude in Science", and in his poem "Things". Similarly, a common thread runs through his story "The Circular Ruins" and his poem "El Golem" ("The Golem").[citation needed]HP Pavilion dv3-2312tx Battery


Borges was a notable translator. He translated works of literature in English, French, German, Old English, and Old Norse into Spanish. His first publication, for a Buenos Aires newspaper, was a translation of Oscar Wilde's story The Happy Prince into Spanish when he was nine.[60] HP Pavilion dv3-2313tx Battery

At the end of his life he produced a Spanish-language version of a part ofSnorri Sturluson's Prose Edda. He also translated (while simultaneously subtly transforming) the works of, among others, Edgar Allan Poe, Kafka, Hesse, Kipling,Faulkner, Gide, Whitman and Woolf.[Notes 3] HP Pavilion dv3-2314tx Battery

Borges wrote and lectured extensively on the art of translation, holding that a translation may improve upon the original, may even be unfaithful to it, and that alternative and potentially contradictory renderings of the same work can be equally valid.[61] Borges also employed the devices of literary forgery and the review of an imaginary work, both forms of modern pseudo-epigrapha. HP Pavilion dv3-2315tx Battery


Borges's best-known set of literary forgeries date from his early work as a translator and literary critic with a regular column in the Argentine magazine El Hogar. Along with publishing numerous legitimate translations, he also published original works, for example, in the style of Emanuel Swedenborg[Notes 4] HP Pavilion dv3-2316tx Battery

or One Thousand and One Nights, originally claiming them to be translations of works he had chanced upon. In another case, he added three short, falsely attributed pieces into his otherwise legitimate and carefully researched anthology El matrero.[Notes 4] Several of these are gathered in the A Universal History of Infamy. HP Pavilion dv3-2317tx Battery

At times he wrote reviews of nonexistent writings by some other person. The key example of this is "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote", which imagines a twentieth-century Frenchman who tries to write Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote verbatim, HP Pavilion dv3-2319tx Battery

not by having memorized Cervantes' work, but as an "original" narrative of his own invention. Initially the Frenchman tries to immerse himself in sixteenth-century Spain, but dismisses the method as too easy, instead trying to reach Don Quixote through his own experiences. HP Pavilion dv3-2320ep Battery

He finally manages to (re)create "the ninth and thirty-eighth chapters of the first part of Don Quixote and a fragment of chapter twenty-two." Borges's "review" of the work of the fictional Menard uses tongue-in-cheek comparisons to explore the resonances which Don Quixotehas picked up over the centuries since it was written. HP Pavilion dv3-2320es Battery

He discusses how much "richer" Menard's work is than that of Cervantes, even though the actual text is exactly the same. HP Pavilion dv3-2321tx Battery

While Borges was the great popularizer of the review of an imaginary work, he had developed the idea from Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus, a book-length review of a non-existent German transcendentalist work, and the biography of its equally non-existent author. HP Pavilion dv3-2322tx Battery

In This Craft of Verse, Borges says that in 1916 in Geneva "[I] discovered, and was overwhelmed by, Thomas Carlyle. I read Sartor Resartus, and I can recall many of its pages; I know them by heart."[62] In the introduction to his first published volume of fiction,The Garden of Forking Paths, Borges remarks, HP Pavilion dv3-2323tx Battery

"It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books, setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary, a commentary on them." HP Pavilion dv3-2324tx Battery

He then cites both Sartor Resartus and Samuel Butler's The Fair Haven, remarking, however, that "those works suffer under the imperfection that they themselves are books, and not a whit less tautological than the others. A more reasonable, more inept, and more lazy man, I have chosen to write notes on imaginary books."[63]HP Pavilion dv3-2324tx Battery


Borges's change in style from regionalist criollismo to a more cosmopolitan style brought him much criticism from journals such as Contorno, a left-of-centre, Sartre-influenced Argentine publication founded by the Viñas brothers, Noé Jitrik, Adolfo Prieto, and other intellectuals. HP Pavilion dv3-2326tx Battery

In the post-Peronist Argentina of the early 1960s, Contorno met with wide approval from the youth who challenged the authenticity of older writers such as Borges and questioned their legacy of experimentation. Magic realism and exploration of universal truths, they argued, had come at the cost of responsibility and seriousness in the face of society's problems.[66] HP Pavilion dv3-2327tx Battery

The Contorno writers acknowledged Borges and Eduardo Malleafor being "doctors of technique" but argued that their work lacked substance due to their lack of interaction with the reality that they inhabited, an existentialist critique of their refusal to embrace existence and reality in their artwork.[66]HP Pavilion dv3-2329tx Battery


With a few notable exceptions, women are almost entirely absent from the majority of Borges's fictional output.[67] There are, however, some instances in Borges's writings of romantic love, for example the story "Ulrikke" from The Book of Sand. The protagonist of the story "El muerto" also lusts after the "splendid, contemptuous, red-haired woman" of Azevedo Bandeira[68] and later "sleeps with the woman with shining hair".[69] HP Pavilion dv3-2330tx Battery

Although they do not appear in the stories, women are significantly discussed as objects of unrequited love in his short stories The Zahir and The Aleph. [70] The plot of La Intrusa was based on a true story of two friends. Borges turned their fictional counterparts into brothers, excluding the possibility of a homosexual relationship.[71]HP Pavilion dv3-2340ez Battery

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