Selected Non-Fictions demonstrates just how quickly Borges began wrestling with such brainteasers as identity, time, and infinity. Indeed, the very first piece in the collection, "The Nothingness of Personality" (1922), already finds him fiddling with the self: "I, as I write this, am only a certainty that seeks out the words that are most apt to compel your attention. That proposition and a few muscular sensations, and the sight of the limpid branches that the trees place outside my window, constitute my current I." There are many such meditations here, including "A History of Eternity" (in which Borges maps out his own, disarmingly empty version of the eternal, "without a God or even a co-proprietor, and entirely devoid of archetypes"). But it's more fun--and more revelatory--to see the author venturing beyond his metaphysical stomping grounds. Borges on King Kong is a hoot, and a cornball masterpiece such as The Petrified Forest elicits this terrific nugget: "Death works in this film like hypnosis or alcohol: it brings the recesses of the soul into the light of day." His capsule biographies are a delight, his critiques of Nazi propaganda are memorably stringent, and nobody should miss him on the tango. True, the sheer variety and mind-boggling erudition of Selected Non-Fictions can be a little forbidding. But, taken as a whole, the collection surely meets the specifications that Borges laid out in a 1927 essay on literary pleasure: "If only some eternal book existed, primed for our enjoyment and whims, no less inventive in the populous morning as in the secluded night, oriented toward all hours of the world." Oh, but it does. --James Marcus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book is what got me back into reading passionately, Jorge Luis Borges has become one of my favorite writers because of these series of essays that are both informative and... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Orlando Ocampo
While I personally tend to prefer the collected fictions of Borges, I enjoy reading the essays and reviews in this book because they offer the reader a chance to engage with many... Read morePublished 3 months ago by A-Ron
this was ridiculous, difficult to read and completely over the top with uncommon words, if you like to struggle and have a handy thesaurus and are more concerned with vocabulary... Read morePublished 7 months ago by meredith mcdonald
Borges was a librarian by trade. The vastness of what he covers is astonishing. My particular favorite parts were his Dante essays and book reviewsPublished 15 months ago by Anthony
I was forced to by gigabytes and data, right here on the internets and everything whatever ad infinitum et cetera.Published 19 months ago by smirkbot
Borges was first a poet, then a masterful creator of the short story, but through the entirety of his illustrious career he was also a brilliant essayist. Read morePublished on October 29, 2011 by Steiner