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Ficciones (BIBLIOTECA BORGES) [Paperback]

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Item description for Ficciones (BIBLIOTECA BORGES) by Jorge Luis Borges...

Ficciones es quizs el libro ms famoso de Jorge Luis Borges, con el que obtuvo en 1961 el importante Premio Formentor. Obra imprescindible en la literatura contemporantea, sus cuentos pertenecen a la categora de las pgina antolgicas.

Reading Jorge Luis Borges is an experience akin to having the top of one's head removed for repairs. First comes the unfamiliar breeze tickling your cerebral cortex; then disorientation, even mild discomfort; and finally, the sense that the world has been irrevocably altered--and in this case, rendered infinitely more complex. First published in 1945, his Ficciones compressed several centuries' worth of philosophy and poetry into 17 tiny, unclassifiable pieces of prose. He offered up diabolical tigers, imaginary encyclopedias, ontological detective stories, and scholarly commentaries on nonexistent books, and in the process exploded all previous notions of genre. Would any of David Foster Wallace's famous footnotes be possible without Borges? Or, for that matter, the syntactical games of Perec, the metafictional pastiche of Calvino? For good or for ill, the blind Argentinian paved the way for a generation's worth of postmodern monkey business--and fiction will never be simply "fiction" again.

Its enormous influence on writers aside, Ficciones has also--perhaps more importantly--changed the way that we read. Borges's Pierre Menard, for instance, undertakes the most audacious project imaginable: to create not a contemporary version of Cervantes's most famous work but the Quixote itself, word for word. This second text is "verbally identical" to the original, yet, because of its new associations, "infinitely richer"; every time we read, he suggests, we are in effect creating an entirely new text, simply by viewing it through the distorting lens of history. "A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships," Borges once wrote in an essay about George Bernard Shaw. "All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare," he tells us in "Tln, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius." In this spirit, Borges is not above impersonating, even quoting, himself.

It is hard, exactly, to say what all of this means, at least in any of the usual ways. Borges wrote not with an ideological agenda, but with a kind of radical philosophical playfulness. Labyrinths, libraries, lotteries, doubles, dreams, mirrors, heresiarchs: these are the tokens with which he plays his ontological games. In the end, ideas themselves are less important to him than their aesthetic and imaginative possibilities. Like the idealist philosophers of Tln, Borges does not "seek for the truth or even for verisimilitude, but rather for the astounding"; for him as for them, "metaphysics is a branch of fantastic literature." --Mary Park

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Item Specifications...

Pages   218
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.85" Width: 4.25" Height: 0.47"
Weight:   0.71 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1997
Publisher   Alianza
ISBN  8420633127  
ISBN13  9788420633121  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jorge Luis Borges

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jorge Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires in 1989 and was educated in Europe. One of the most widely acclaimed writers of our time, he published many collections of poems, essays, and short stories before his death in Geneva in June 1986. In 1961 Borges shared the International Publisher's prize with Samuel Beckett. The Ingram Merrill Foundation granted him its Annual Literary Award in 1966 for his "outstanding contribution to literature." In 1971 Columbia University awarded him the first of many degrees of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (eventually the list included both Oxford and Cambridge), that he was to receive from the English-speaking world. In 1971 he also received the fifth biennial Jerusalem Prize and in 1973 was given one of Mexico's most prestigious cultural awards, the Alfonso Reyes Prize. In 1980 he shared with Gerardo Diego the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish world's highest literary accolade. Borges was Director of the Argentine National Library from 1955 until 1973.
Efrain Kristal (editor, introducer, notes) is a professor of Spanish and comparative literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of books on both Jorge Luis Borges and Mario Vargas Llosa. He lives in Los Angeles.
Suzanne Jill Levine (general editor) is a professor of Latin American literature and translation studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the distinguished translator of such innovative Spanish American writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Manuel Puig, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, and Julio Cortazar. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Jorge Luis Borges was born in 1899 and died in 1986 and has an academic affiliation as follows - New Directions.

Jorge Luis Borges has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics
  2. New Directions Pearls
  3. Penguin Classics
  4. Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( B ) > Borges, Jorge Luis
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories > General
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > Latin American
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > United States > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Ficciones (BIBLIOTECA BORGES)?

Borges A Man from Peru  May 17, 2008
Borges, a half deaf Mephisto indian from Peru, wrote in the later half of the 20th century when half of his inheritance had been squandered in Bordellos charging full price. His forte into "asylum" literature came about as a result of being incarcerated by accident in a Bolivian prison camp which inspired the film, "Papillon". His days were spent by writing and re-reading a book he carried inside his pocket for 22 years which was titled, "Moth Collecting for Youngsters". Most of these stories deal with tidal waves and rocks but some, deal with the memories of his youth like "Hopping on Empty Books".
The labyrinth that consists of a single straight line  May 3, 2008
Jorge Luis Borges was one of those rare writers who can take even a bizarre, utterly unbelievable idea, and spin it into an exquisite little gem of prose.

And this classic writer was at the peak of his powers when he collected together "Ficciones," whose plain name belies the subtle power and exquisite beauty of Jorges' short stories. Even among Borges' many short stories, few of them can rival this little labyrinth of strange ancient cities, fictional histories, and the eerie depths of the human mind.

"I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia." An odd old saying from the Middle-East leads the narrator to seek out the long-lost heretical histories of a fictional world known as Tlon. Its beliefs, language, and metaphysical eccentricities increasingly fascinate the narrator, until it's almost a surprise to realize that Borges invented all of this.

The stories that follow are no less engrossing -- the recounting of a strange, haunting novel, a man who attempts to LIVE as Don Quixote, a man who tries to dream a new being into existence, a lottery that determines the way the people of Babylon are to live, an examination of a brilliant and underrated author, an exploration of the eternal Library of the universe, and a labyrinthine spy story.

The second round of short stories is a bit less enthralling, merely because it focuses more on "typical" Borges short stories. But they are still pretty enthralling pieces of work -- the remembrance of the brilliantly eccentric Ireneo Funes, the story of a scar, a series of murders linked to "the secret Name," a condemned man's begs God for a year to perfect his art, a forgotten heretic, a conversation leading to revenge, the Cult of the Phoenix, and a man entranced by the "Arabian Nights."

Mirrors and labyrinths fill Borges' work -- real and imagined, in word, metaphor and reality. You see them in an endless library, a guitar melody, a contradiction in religious faith, a complex plot, and in the mind of a man who loses himself to an obsession. The mirrors show you the sides of people that they would never see themselves, and the labyrinth twists the mind into new places where it would never normally go.

"Ficciones" explores places where normal fiction would never go -- such as a Babylonian lottery for different places in society, corrupted by greed -- even as it imbues its eulogies, metaphysical ponderings and explanations with the tinge of reality. The cults, deaths, and art that Borges describes seem so plausible, and are given such depth and detail, that it comes as a mild shock when you realize, "Hey, he made all of this up."

Part of that is due to his unique style, full of elegant wordcraft and gently luminous imagery ("a round yellow moon defined two leaf-clogged fountains in the dreary garden"). Even a stabbing is made brutally beautiful, and often dialogue is unnecessary -- the most beautiful and striking stories in here are the ones where Borges (aka the narrator) eagerly explores some invented facet of the world.

And woven through these stories are many of the things that fascinated Borges through his career -- a tragic hero, ancient heresies, an elusive God, and people whose lives he could somehow explore through his own imagination.

If you could criticize anything at all, it's that few of the characters -- aside from the Borges "narrator" -- are much more than walking symbols of a murky little message. But hey, you could simply see this entire book as an exploration of Borges' own imagination by himself. He happily recounts countries that are nonexistant, books that were never written, geniuses who never were.

"Ficciones" is about the dullest name you can possibly give to a work of genius -- an intricate little web that is all mirrors and mazes. Absolutely stunning.
Borges is the original Neo (The Matrix)  Jun 26, 2007
Transport the Wachowski brothers to the 1930's and ask them to express their philosophy by way of short stories. You might get something in the same ballpark as Ficciones. The diversity and genius of Borges' work is so unique that if you were to know all the languages in the world and had no word limit, it would still be hard to do a review that does justice. Ironically, this is exactly the kind of challenge that Borges would stand up to. I will attempt to review this work by enlisting adjectives that come to mind.

Surreal, mystic, recursive, sophistic, heretical, philosophical, religious, profound, imaginative, ingenious, circular, open-ended, unorthodox, personal, hallucinational, original, universal, self-referential, concise, contextual, complex, ironic.

Here are a few examples of the complexity of Borges' mind at work.

Borges attributes certain imaginary books and volumes of books to some of the authors that he is most influenced by. In reality, these books are projections of Borges' fertile mind and no more. In the process of critiquing imaginary works of art (let's call this meta-art), he creates an instance of the meta-art in the mind of the reader. It's like me talking to you about the eating habits of a third person you haven't met, and actually does not exist! Borges never fails to leave you with a lasting impression of a meta-art that resonates with your senses. On second thoughts, this is obvious because the meta-art is as much a figment of your imagination as it is Borges'. Every meta-art is a reflection of your own creative mind, while Borges is simply holding a mirror. And talking about mirrors, here's a quote from Borges as attributed by him to the meta-art in his first short story "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius": "The earth we inhabit is an error, an incompetent parody. Mirrors and paternity are abominable because they multiply and affirm it." And with this we come full circle just like you would in most of Borges' stories.

Borges is fascinated with the idea of god and provides several unorthodox notions of god that might be as appealing to scientists as they would to priests. This is done more so by illustration than by elucidation. In fact, subtle self-references and recursions are an integral part of the entire work. The stories embody the concept that Borges sets out to illustrate, and always come full circle at the end such that appreciating the story is equivalent to appreciating the concept. Whether it is the wizard of "The Circular Ruins", the librarian of "The Library of Babel", the spy of "The Garden of Forking Paths", the teenage boy of "Funes the Memorious", or the playwright of "The Secret Miracle"; the self-referential nature of the work is haunting. Each story leaves you wondering how Borges could convey so much with so little words [This also speaks volumes about the quality of English translation]. Then again, the very topic of brevity and excessiveness is discussed in one of the reviews of a fictional book. It is like Borges does not let anything go. Yet again, the very topic of an all-encompassing book is discussed in the context of a fictional book that aspires to BE god.

There was not a single story of the seventeen that was not profound. There is no chance that you would not re-read this book after reading it once.
An ingenious labyrinthine narrative....  Jun 20, 2007
Borges never fails to please, to challenge, to entertain, and more importantly make one's brain shift into high gear!
If you are looking for an easy read, don't expect to find it in Ficciones.

However, if you are looking for a little cerebral cortex arousal; grab this book and find a cozy won't be disappointed!

Reading with his head instead of his heart, Borges looks to fill his mind with all the minutia and information he can possibly hold and release it back in his works with finely crafted and fascinatingly playful philosophical stories.

The sparse, objective writing of Ficciones is a far cry from his earlier lyrical style, of which he says: "In those days, I sought dusk, the outskirts, and unhappiness; now, mornings, the center, and serenity."

Thankfully in the newer center, we are treated to 17 extraordinary stories that are teasingly succinct, yet brimming with imaginative and aesthetic prose!

The scarcity of words requires that the reader pay attention to them all or miss much of the wisdom and subtleness that define the delicate and ingenious style that is this fine master of fiction...Jorge Luis Borges!
So much more  Apr 4, 2007
My knowledge of Borges is small; before purchasing Ficciones I had only read two or three of his short stories. Enough, however, to know that it would be well worth the short time it takes to read each of these stories.

Borges had an unusual and amazing way of compressing the most stimulating, fascinating material into a small number of pages. You may read one of his stories in ten-fifteen minutes and contemplate it for a week (or more) and remember it for life. And still, you may well want to reread it many times; it has happened more than once that upon finishing a Borges short I immediately wanted to go back and start from the beginning.

The strange thoughts on infinity and the nature of existence are presented in a way that stimulates thought in a humble yet intruiging way. Ideas that may be well recognized and used in other fiction (in some cases overused) have some other element, some different approach, so that even if the premise is not "new" the experience certainly is. How this can be done, and in so few words no less, is beyond me.

This was certainly one of my very best buys and I know that this book will be well worn by my reading alone, not to mention that of the many people I will lend it to with my best recommendations. These short stories will bring beauty and excitement of the mind to many an otherwise boring, mundane day.

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