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Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature Hardcover – July 31, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0811218757 ISBN-10: 0811218759

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Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature + Borges at Eighty: Conversations + Jorge Luis Borges: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations (The Last Interview Series)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (July 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811218759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811218757
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #445,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Picture this: You’re an Argentine teenager, sitting in a lecture hall on the first day of classes, ready to learn about the history of English literature. In walks your kindly, elderly professor, and suddenly he starts speaking, about everything from The Dream of the Rood to Treasure Island, sometimes quoting entire paragraphs, without any notes whatsoever. He’s also blind (and has been for more than a decade). What would your reaction be?” (The Globe & Mail)

“Readers will probably find Professor Borges more enthralling as a document of Borges himself than as a guide to English literature. Borges’s vast erudition is felt everywhere in these pages, and he is at his best when he digresses.” (Will Glovinsky - The Rumpus)

“Borges’ delivery will engross you — he is an excellent storyteller.” (New York Daily News)

About the Author

Jorge Luis Borges (1890-1982), Argentine poet, critic, and short-story writer, revolutionized modern literature. He was completely blind when appointed the head of Argentina’s National Library.

Katherine Silver is an award-winning literary translator and the co-director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre (BILTC).

Martín Hadis is a professor, writer, and researcher.

Martín Arias is a writer, journalist, and senior researcher at the National Library's Center for Research in Argentina.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Borges gave a series of lectures on English Literature in Buenos Aires in 1966. His students recorded them and transcripts were later made. They are here collected into a book and present Borges' survey of English Literature. It begins with the foundations in Old English but as would be as expected does not go beyond the early twentieth century. Borges was not really at home with contemporary English literature and his greatest loves like Stevenson were of a previous time. The course is a survey and there is much more description and enthusistic championing rather than deep reading. Still Borges is Borges and there is no way he can write a page without writing something interesting in it.
This book is not really for those who would study English literature in depth, but rather for those many readers for whom simply being in the presence of Borges is what he always thought our reading of Literature should be, a great pleasure.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D. McGraw on February 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Borges brings alive the old english epics so that you wish the Normans had been beaten back in 1066; curious to see how our literature and our world would have evolved differently. His taste is for the action of old english, the sound of alliterative poetry in prose and the beginnings of an interior dialogue without the abstraction introduced with the injection of french. He finds mystery and enigma without the falsity and forcing of irony nor any overt Christian narrative overlay. He points to a world of pleasurable reading for 21st century sensibilities from a literature more than a century old. Funny, after a century of analysis from a legion of english professors it takes a man who wrote in spanish, lived in Argentina, who was outside the critical traditions of the Academy, who read only for pleasure, and finally was blind - to see the deepest into our literature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Haverstick on January 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm giving this a 4 not because I didn't really enjoy it but because I feel many will be dissapointed if they take the title literally. I first encountered Borges seriously about 10 yrs ago while on a self-improvement project reading Spanish poetry. I was delighted to see we shared an interest in Schopenhauer, George Berkely and Old English. I read a bio and much of the material in the three volume set of Stories, Essays and Poems by Penguin Classics. I highly recommend this well produced paperback set set to anyone wishing acquantance with this 20th century seminal author. The poetry volume is a dual language book and so anyone with a rudimentery knowledge of the latinate languages can appreciate the poems in the original. I consider them his best work, though the short stories are also highly respected. Borges did not write longer works, all the pieces are quite short. It has often been remarked that he was skipped for the Noble because of some of his unfortunate affiliations with unsavory - to say the least - Latin tyrants. He was, however, no Ezra Pound.

These lectures on English literature are highly idiosyncratic and selective. He goes from long remarks on Anglo Saxon and Scandanavian literature straight to Sam Johnson in the mid 17 hundreds. His remarks often digress into the aesthtics of the language of the period and the imagined national characteristics of the speakers to the virtues of the literature itself. However the reader reacts to these speculations, they are always full of sparkling comments and insights.

After Johnson and Boswell, two of my favorites and engagingly treated, we proceed to Browning, Stevenson and some Romantics. Wordsworth, Blake and Coleridge are perhaps poets we know mostly in passing these days and Borges' remarks are stimulating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By El Tigre TA Esmitz on January 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
These lectures aren't world-shaking, but they are interesting. The value is the insight they give into English literature from a non-English point of view. Borges is an admirer of this literature and not an adversarial critic looking for a peg to hang his theories on. The classes are charming and humane.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mike on November 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am currently finishing my BA in English Lit and Professor Borges' non-native perspective is fresh and enlightening. I really am impressed with his ability to discuss the subject without immersing the reader in Jargon. Definitely a good survey on the history of English Lit for students and non-students alike.
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