This August 24 would be the birthday of Jorge Luis Borges. Argentine by birth who died in Geneva. The visionary, blind in his last years of life, was one of the most influential intellectuals of twentieth-century literature.
His name rang for more than a quarter of a century as a Nobel Prize candidate, although he was never awarded the award. Some and some affirm that it was because of his "rightist" ideas, others and others that it was simply because he did not have to win it. Away from the controversy, We want to highlight his laborious work in the field of essay, story and poetry.
"Doubt is one of the names of intelligence."
A figure with a highly complex work that has intrigued philologists, semiotics, philosophers and even mathematicians. Reflection and perplexity in the face of doubt were always his leitmotiv. He went through different stages, in which he stood from the avant-garde – very anchored to his poetry – until he conrected his own style that he would pick up in his prose and essay.
His literature is fantastic and philosophical. The game with language and literary references are constant, and it does not stop offering simple and extraordinary texts balanced on a paper scale. Some of its most recurring themes are time, infinity, reality or identity. Concepts that fight with their metaphors of mazes and mirrors, as if no one could escape from the Minotaur.
"We are our memory, we are that chimeric museum of changing forms, that pile of broken mirrors."
In 1938 he receives a blow to the head, crashing into a window, which almost leads to death from septicemia. From this bad trance, and even with the fear of sequels by doctors, he comes out with a lucid mind and able to write his most important prose works.
Later he would also receive a painful inheritance from his father: he gradually began to lose his vision, until he became completely blind. A pathology that his father had tried to combat and that was the cause of, for example, the whole family moving to Europe from Argentina to follow a specific treatment. The disease accompanied Borges until his death, caused by liver cancer. On his deathbed, he pronounced the Our Father in five different languages.
"In my next life I will try to make more mistakes."
One of his most outstanding works is Fictions. A book where short stories meet. A work that Borges visited and revisited to add new parts and new stories. It was initially published The garden of bifurcated paths and later on Artifices. The union of the two shaped the final text. A work of fiction that changed the course, according to experts, of twentieth-century literature. Complex and difficult to classify, it is a pleasant reading that always raises doubts.
Although if you want to meet Borges before 1930, combined with his reflections after 1960, it is best to go to his poetry. A lyric that suffered its changes of mentality, and that ended up entirely delivered to the enjoyment of the reader. The Complete Poetry The author gathers essential verses to understand the author. And a little to find ourselves in his words.
To delve deeper into his poetic work, you can take a look at Poetic art. Book that includes six lectures that the author gave at Harvard. A reflection on the intellectual fullness of the author around poetry, its mystery and its path in the word.
Jorge Luis Borges is an author who, far from being forgotten, needs a constant visit. Fictional birthdays, after all, are an excuse for books not to accumulate dust on the shelves. To remember that they are there. And happy birthday, by the way.
"We all walk towards anonymity, only that the mediocre arrive a little earlier."