Collected Fictions

Collected Fictions

by Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges has been called the greatest Spanish-language writer of our century.

Now for the first time in English, all of Borges' dazzling fictions are gathered into a single volume, brilliantly translated by Andrew Hurley.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 4.58
  • Pages: 565
  • Publish Date: September 30th 1999 by Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition
  • Isbn10: 0140286802
  • Isbn13: 9780140286809

Read the Book "Collected Fictions" Online

Humbled by the Word The Master. It is only when we think that we control words, when we think that we know with some certainty what they really, really mean, that they become dangerous. So humility is the prime virtue of the writer who knows he is controlled by every word he uses. He is more clever than words because they don't know how to be humble.

Real, tangible crafts, performed by and for living, breathing people. Even this "real" version of the story is illusory. Maybe audiences will think the sets are CGI as well, so why have builders, carpenters, and sculptors been toiling for months to create the ephemeral palaces of dreams? But an impression will live on in the digital realm and people's memories.

There exists a relatively small amount of commentary on this short riddle-like tale written by the Argentinian fabulist Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). From the tone of this Borges tale, we are given the unmistakable impression the Secret is revealed only through direct experience. Considering the large number of tribes and indigenous peoples both prior to and in the year 1952 when Borges wrote this tale along with the authors including such language as: since there is no human group which does not included partisans of the Phoenix McKennas interpretation makes abundance sense. I refer to these practices since a number of interpreters of The Cult of the Phoenix point to specific passages within the text as evidence the Secret that Borges is citing is sexual intercourse or even more specifically, homosexual intercourse And what, you may ask, is the link between sexual intercourse and these Eastern physical practices? So, is Borges secret Cult of the Phoenix really about hallucinogenic plants, esoteric Eastern traditions or religious mysticism? THE CULT OF THE PHOENIX by Jorge Luis Borges Those who write that the sect of the Phoenix originated in Heliopolis, and make it derive from the religious restoration which followed the death of the reformer Amenhotep IV, cite texts by Herodotus, Tacitus, and inscriptions from the Egyptian monuments; but they ignore, or try to ignore, the fact that the denomination of the sect by the name of Phoenix is not prior to Rabanus Manrus, and that the most ancient sources (the Saturnalia, or Flavius Josephus, let us say) speak only of the People of Custom or the People of the Secret. The gypsies are of a certain definite physical type, and they speak or used to speak secret language; the sectarians are indistinguishable from the rest of the world; the proof of it is that they have not suffered persecutions. People think more or less as follows: Urmann was a sensitive man, Urmann was a Jew, Urmann associated with the sectarians in the ghetto at Prague; the affinity felt by Urmann serves to prove a fact. Lacking a sacred book to unify them as the Scripture does Israel, lacking a common memory, lacking that other social memory which is language, scattered across the face of the earth, differing in color and features only, one thing the Secret unites them and will unite them until the end of time. Once upon a time, in addition to the Secret, there was a legend (and perhaps also a cosmogonic myth), but the superficial men of the Phoenix have forgotten it, and today they conserve only the obscure tradition of some cosmic punishment: of a punishment, or a pack, or a privilege, for the versions differ, and they scarcely hint at the verdict of a God who grants eternity to a race of men if they will only carry out a certain rite, generation after generation. Merged review: If asked to suggest a one word key as a humble first step to unlock the worlds and mysteries of Jorge Luis Borges, my answer would be: labyrinths. Here are two Borges quotes: There is no need to build a labyrinth when the entire universe is one. Many Borges tales have references, either direct or indirect, to labyrinths, my favorite, a one-pager entitled The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths. Here is my write-up: Synopsis: An ancient Babylonian king has a labyrinth constructed confusing and subtle in the extreme, thus nobody with an ounce of sense dare enter. Indeed, so convoluted and twisted, so baffling and wondrous, his labyrinth was unseemly in the eyes of God. The king of the Arabs pays a visit to court and, as a way to mock the simplicity of his guest, the Babylonian encourages the Arab to enter his labyrinth. Borges Link: This short tale is read by a character in another of his stories Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrinth. Also, wise to keep in mind the image of a labyrinth, both Babylonian and Arab, when reading other Borges tales, for example, The Aleph was probably two or three centimeters in diameter, but universal space was contained inside it, with no diminution in size, or, It is not as though the Zahir were made of glass, since one side is not superimposed upon the other rather, it is as though the vision were itself spherical, with the Zahir rampant in the center. Desert Labyrinth, Two: Of course, there is are critical differences: (1) the Babylonian king in the desert remained a man in his body whereas in my dream I was bodiless, and (2) the desert is a specific landscape on our planet whereas the infinite blackness of my dream was, well, infinite and undifferentiated. Desert Labyrinth, Three: Several years ago I had a similar vivid dream, a dream where I died and all that remained was my consciousness and an infinite darkness. This time, however, since I had many years of meditation practice, I relaxed into the experience and felt restful, even blissful. I relay all this as a way of underscoring the truth of how Jorge Luis Borges judges literature. Merged review: The myth of the Minotaur goes back to ancient Greece, the Minotaur being a creature part man and part bull dwelling at the center of an elaborate maze-like labyrinth on the island of Crete. But who since the time of the ancient Greeks over two thousand years ago has ever thought to explore this vivid mythic tale with the Minotaur as the first-person narrator? Reading this Borges short story over the years has prompted me to ask the following questions. The Minotaur is man-like enough to share the very human experience of frustration and boredom and the Minotaur yearns for release. Put another way, do we think just because a creature is not completely human that creatures experience of life has nearly nothing in common with our own?

In the prologue to Artifices, Borges comments:Of The South, which is perhaps my best story, let it suffice for me to suggest that it can be read as a direct narrative of novelistic events, and also in another way.The main character is Juan Dahlmann, a mixture of German and Spanish ancestry, whose life is mundane but who dreams vaguely of a more romantic life, inspired by the Flores side of his heritage and the Flores ranch in the South that he owns but has never visited.

Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel Even though I read Borgess Collected Fictions in Spanish, my native tongue, I have to confess I didnt understand half of it. The blurred line between reality and dream challenged comprehension in tales such as Tlon, Uqbar and Orbis Tertius where Borges depicts an ideal, metaphysic world made real by the power of imagination. The same idea is reinforced in The Circular Ruins , in which a man is able to create a son only dreaming about him. The tittle, which also notes the mythical temple where the man appears out of nowhere (maybe time travel?), might also carry the analogy of the infinite repetition which can be seen in a circle, a geometric figure which has no end and no beginning. I found the way Borges manages to portray the subjectivity of time simply brilliant, especially in the scene where Hladík is being executed. I think I can sense the lurking forces behind Borgess mathematical concision, audacious adjectives and unusual ideas, I think I grasp his need to defy understanding to make his point about incomprehensible concepts such as infinite, time and reality.

The 'Collected Fictions' consists of the following nine collections- 'A Universal History of Iniquity', 'Fictions', 'Artifices', 'The Aleph', 'The Maker', 'In Praise of Darkness', 'Brodie's Report' , 'The Book of Sand', and finally 'Shakespeare's Memory', totaling around 103 stories. 'A Universal History of Iniquity', describing villainous characters from all over the world, reveals two characteristic features of Borges' fiction- as translator Andrew Hurley writes in the introduction: This volume is purportedly a series of biographies of reprehensible evildoers, and as biography, the book might be expected to rely greatly upon "sources" of one sort or anotheras indeed Borges' 'Index of Sources" seems to imply. Add to that the Apocryphal nature of his writing fake reviews of fake books, interpolations from known-fake sources & his stories become forbidding mind-benders: as Borges remarks in his Paris Review interview Most of those allusions and references are merely put there as a kind of private joke. Labyrinths, mirrors, dreams, doubles -- so many of the elements that appear over and over in Borges' fiction are symbols of the psyche turned inward it's hard to escape solipsism and alter egos of Borges as blind librarians, diffident, celibate, middle-aged academics & writers people the stories Borges and I, The Other, August 25,1983 are outstanding stories in this regard : Here's Borges having a laugh at his own expense in August 25, 1983: I realized that it was a masterpiece in the most overwhelming sense of the word. Tell me, Borges," he said, looking at me as though stricken with holy terror, "what can you know about knife fighters and thugs and underworld types?" "I've read up on the subject," I replied. The dense, obscure allusiveness of his fiction is not a tic, or even really a style; and it is no accident that his best stories are often fake essays, or reviews of fictitious books, or have texts at their plots' centers, or have as protagonists Homer or Dante or Averroes. Whether for seminal artistic reasons or neurotic personal ones or both, Borges collapses reader and writer into a new kind of aesthetic agent, one who makes stories out of stories, one for whom reading is essentially -- consciously -- a creative act. Take a look at the long list of writers that Borges has inspired: Paris Review - The Art of Fiction No. 39, Jorge Luis Borges

Only Borges could possibly have made such a statement at the beginning of a short story called Covered Mirrors under The Maker (1960) in this multi-faceted selection of mesmerizing and fascinating short stories. His themes are rather fascinating, that of dreams, mirrors, slashing of throats, libraries amongst other things but more bizarre is his love of tigers. The book is divided up into different sections during Borges life starting with A Universal History of Iniquity in 1935 with further sections Fictions 1941, Artifices - 1944, The Aleph - 1949, The Maker - 1960, In Praise of Darkness - 1969, Brodies Report - 1970, The Book of Sand - 1975 and Shakespeares Memory 1983. I absolutely loved this book.

One of his persistent themes is the relative reality of literature, and I always think of Richard III; there are two of them: the monster in Shakespeare's play and the slightly-less-monstrous asshole in real life. Which is, like, whoa, man, and then Borges wrote a story about it.) I made the mistake of blazing through all of "Ficciones" on a flight; these are not stories to read in great gulps. "Universal History of Iniquity" is Borges' first collection, and it's unlike the others: a series of almost straight-forward stories rewritten from sources. At its best, "The Aleph" matches Ficciones, but at its worst, it reminds one uncomfortably of M Night Shyamalan; Borges has developed an O Henry-esque obsession with twist endings, so that halfway through each story you start to guess what the twist is. Whereas in Ficciones Borges wrote papers about imaginary books, now it sometimes seems like he's writing abstracts of the papers about the imaginary books. At times ("Undr") it feels like Borges is just kinda flipping the switch on the crazy-idea machine. As I told Alasse below: I feel like I've been waiting for Borges all my life.

I can recall the first time I discovered the name Borges. There were certainly times poring over these abstracts of imagined books when I not only felt like an illiterate swindler but also that the text would never cease, both like the Book of Sand as well a paged equivalent of the Blue Tiger, forever multiplying in my grasp, like some curse of abundance.

On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals. Coetzee said of Borges: "He, more than anyone, renovated the language of fiction and thus opened the way to a remarkable generation of Spanish American novelists."