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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 "Tlön, 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 Tlön, 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
Translation of Brilliant Argentine writer. Oh, so wonderful.Published 3 days ago by Jennifer W. Hale
Borges' fantastic first collection of short stories in a fine English translation. I first read this fifty years ago as a graduate student. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robin Robertson
Ordered on my brother's account, but it was wonderful. The book itself seems small, but don't let that fool you. It is dense information-wise. An enjoyable read!Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Beautifully composed, possibly the most influential writer in South America. His style is like no other, his mastery of human strife, dramatization, and puzzles have been nicely... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michelle C
I couldn't get through this book the first time I tried. The second time, I couldn't put it down. I think it hit me that this book was more of a delicious ride than a standard... Read morePublished 5 months ago by RAPHAEL RICE