FiccionesReading Borges is always a challenge When you read his stories, it seems you are reading everyone else s There is a lot of references in his work, and if you want to truly kind of understand it or begin to , you have to do a little research He ends up being an invaluable teacher Labyrinths, mirrors, libraries, dreams, fantasy, religion, philosophy, epistemology My love for philosophical literature began with this author My all time favorite story is Las Ruinas Circulares the power of thoughts Con alivio, con humillaci n, con terror, comprendi que l tambi n era una apariencia, que otro estaba so ndolo What a beautiful line to end a story I prefer quoting Borges in his own language, my language I do the same with English speaking writers Being able to read JLB in Spanish is a privilege Tl n, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius is another jewel with a line I never forgot los espejos y la c pula son abominables, porque multiplican el n mero de los hombres.I also liked La loter a de Babilonia , El jard n de senderos que se bifurcan , Funes el memorioso , La biblioteca de Babel brilliant And I should stop here I loved every piece of amazing and confusing literature this guy wrote So, this is a useless, too subjective review because I absolutely love Borges writing Despite the fact he makes me feel plain stupid, most of the times.JLB and his blindness, nice oxymoron He saw things beyond the ordinary human eye He created universes, troubled authors, fake books, never ending labyrinths and a unique way of writing about all that and .He is one of those great writers that makes you feel like everything has already been written.May 05, 14 Also on my blog. Borges looked inside the swirling mind of man and made a maze of it A glorious maze The maze that is Ficciones is a maze built of mazes, one opening unto another, circling around and looping back, an infinity of mazes, small as the smallest of small minds, large as the universe can be imagined Its architecture is delicate and refined the wry wit of its creator is apparent in every twist and turn Borges maze gently mocks yet empathizes with the self important, the self absorbed, and the self denying He understands the foibles of man and his maze offers diverse commentaries on such things But there are darker things lurking beneath that amiable surface Ficciones isthan an academician s cleverly constructed playground Beware the prickly thorns of this maze There is anger there, under the charm and the playful games anger at the systems of man and the futility of certain behaviors, at the machinery of government There is sadness there too, at the thought of those who would treat such mazes as homes, at the machinations of fate Like every writer, he measured the virtues of other writers by their performance, and asked that they measure him by what he conjectured or planned. An ironic dig, but that phrase isthan a shot fired Borges is fascinated by the concept that if something has been thought about, has acquired meaning through that contemplation, then that something has become real Thought creates its own reality, and reality is composed of varied systems of being and behavior thought becomes the way that reality is interpreted and therefore enacted Ficciones tells stories about stories each story is about the perspective of mankind, the symbols this species clings to, the metaphors they attempt to turn into living, breathing reality Ficciones is an imaginarium it is a weird and haunted carnival of games and sideshows come to life It is a dazzling display of comic, sometimes cosmic gems and each gem includes a seam of tragedy, fractures that can sometimes be seen on the surface but are most often buried within its heart.Oh the mysterious fallibility and hypocrisy of the human kind Their failures and their attempts to transcend their fates The mazes and fictions that they create and then proceed to live in each story title is a link to something that that story made me think aboutPart One THE GARDEN OF FORKING PATHSTl n, Uqbar, Orbis TertiusThe Approach to Al Mu tasimPierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote discard the downloadThe Circular RuinsThe Babylon LotteryAn Examination of the Work of Herbert QuainThe Library of BabelThe Garden of Forking PathsPart Two ARTIFICESFunes, the MemoriousThe Form of the SwordTheme of the Traitor and HeroDeath and the CompassThe Secret MiracleThree Versions of JudasThe EndThe Sect of the PhoenixThe South The author is a master of mixing fantasy and philosophy He has been credited as a pioneer in magical realism in Latin American literature In this classic collection, most stories are almost as much essays as they are short stories Recurring themes are non existent and ancient books Time Geometry Gnosticism Mirrors Encyclopedias Chess Labyrinths Imaginary worlds Memory and mnemonics Infinity in books, libraries and labyrinths All possible outcomes, like infinite universes in which every act and its result are mirrored by the opposite act and the opposite result Or maybe the opposite act and the same result lol Here are a few examples of the 17 stories The Library of Babel, perhaps his best known story combines almost all of the list in the previous paragraph The library is God or the universe Every book is mirrored by one with all the opposite conclusions Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius is a story that gives us imaginary countries and worlds that get into encyclopedias and take on a life of their own Like imaginary islands One of the schools of Tlon has reached the point of denying time It reasons that the present is undefined, that the future has no other reality than as present hope, that the past is nothan present memory This story calls to mind the fake stories that keep resurfacing and periodically go viral on the internet This week for example in Feb 2019, fact checking sites are once again refuting claims that 98 million Americans got cancer from the polio vaccine In The Garden of Forking Paths, a Chinese spy for the Germans against the British can only pass on his secret information by killing someone Meanwhile we hear speculation on the garden is it a true labyrinth or a book about the labyrinth In The Secret Miracle a man is condemned to the firing squad basically for being an erudite Jew He tries to stop his execution by attempting to foresee all the details of the endless possibilities of the execution number of soldiers firing, how far away they stand, where it will take place, etc knowing that it is impossible to imagine all these details correctly, so that if he imagines all possible scenarios, his execution can t happen He prays for a year to finish the book he is working on He is granted that wish to finish the book in his head in the suspension of time between bullets leaving the guns and their impact on his body.Three Versions of Judas is in effect a religious work arguing that Judas betrayal of Christ was superfluous His action wasn t needed to betray a master who daily preached in the synagogue and performed miracles before gatherings of thousands of people But maybe the betrayal was necessary for God to prove his divinity.And we have humor A hotel which most manifestly unites the hateful whiteness of a sanitorium, the numbered divisibility of a prison, and the general appearance of a bawdy house This delay in an execution was due to a desire on the part of the authorities to act slowly and impersonally, in the manner of planets or vegetables In life, he suffered from a sense of unreality, as do many Englishmen dead, he is not even the ghostly creature he was then Why a rating of 4 rather than 5 Perhaps because the stories are starting to show their age They were all written in the 1940 s and 50 s Maybe we need a new translation the edition I read was translated in 1956 Borges has had so many imitators, some are quite good, such as the stories by his countryman, Julio Cortazar, in All Fires the Fire, which I reviewed here s fun to think how Borges would be writing stories today about the internet and cell phones Illustration of the Library of Babel from americandigest.orgPhoto of the Borges Labyrinth in Venice planted on the 25th anniversary of his death 1899 1986 From italy . The Seventeen Pieces In Ficciones Demonstrate The Whirlwind Of Borges S Genius And Mirror The Precision And Potency Of His Intellect And Inventiveness, His Piercing Irony, His Skepticism, And His Obsession With Fantasy Borges Sends Us On A Journey Into A Compelling, Bizarre, And Profoundly Resonant Realm We Enter The Fearful Sphere Of Pascal S Abyss, The Surreal And Literal Labyrinth Of Books, And The Iconography Of Eternal Return To Enter The Worlds In Ficciones Is To Enter The Mind Of Jorge Luis Borges, Wherein Lies Heaven, Hell, And Everything Else In Between Part One The Garden Of Forking Paths Prologue Tl N, Uqbar, Orbis TertiusThe Approach To Al Mu Tasim , Not Included In TheEdition Pierre Menard, Author Of The QuixoteThe Circular RuinsThe Lottery In BabylonAn Examination Of The Work Of Herbert QuainThe Library Of BabelThe Garden Of Forking PathsPart Two Artifices Prologue Funes The MemoriousThe Form Of The SwordTheme Of The Traitor And The HeroDeath And The CompassThe Secret MiracleThree Versions Of JudasThe End , Nd Edition Only The Sect Of The Phoenix , Nd Edition Only The South , Nd Edition Only To me Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges is the ultimate anthology of short stories I find in it everything I ever want to find in literature reality and surreality, realness and surrealness, fables and parables, legends and myths, mysticism and philosophy, history and fantasy and an endless enigma.I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia The mirror troubled the far end of a hallway in a large country house on Calle Gaona, in Ramos Mejia the encyclopedia is misleadingly titled The Anglo American Cyclopaedia New York, 1917 , and is a literal though also laggardly reprint of the 1902 Encyclop dia Britannica The event took place about five years ago.Yes, use a combination of mirrors, labyrinths and books and you too will be capable to live an idyllic, fabulous and mysterious life whenever you wish With one quick look, you and I perceive three wineglasses on a table Funes perceived every grape that had been pressed into the wine and all the stalks and tendrils of its vineyard He knew the forms of the clouds in the southern sky on the morning of April 30,1882, and he could compare them in his memory with the veins in the marbled binding of a book he had seen only once, or with the feathers of spray lifted by an oar on the Rio Negro on the eve of the Battle of Quebracho Nor were those memories simple every visual image was linked to muscular sensations, thermal sensations, and so on He was able to reconstruct every dream, every daydream he had ever had.A perfect memory and ability of perfect vision turns into a curse and we understand that our capability to forget is actually a divine gift.And Death and the Compass is an utmost detective story, an utter post noir tale for me I believe that this elaborate maze of misconceptions, false steps and deception was a main influence on Foucault s Pendulum by Umberto Eco There arethings in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Blind to all fault, destiny can be ruthless at one s slightest distractionReading Jorge Luis Borges is a bewildering experience and a challenge all in one There is no logically understanding the mazes Borges creates, but that is what fantastical realism is all about Ficciones is a labyrinth, beautiful and witty, of ideas and feelings that mock and conquers the reader.Borges can speak for himself, who am I to explain his brilliance and imaginationWhen it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of extravagant happiness All men felt themselves to be the masters of an intact and secret treasure There was no personal or world problem whose eloquent solution did not exist in some hexagon The universe was justified, the universe suddenly usurped the unlimited dimensions of hope At that time a great deal was said about the Vindications books of apology and prophecy which vindicated for all time the acts of every man in the universe and retained prodigious arcana for his future Thousands of the greedy abandoned their sweet native hexagons and rushed up the stairways, urged on by the vain intention of finding their Vindication These pilgrims disputed in the narrow corridors, proffered dark curses, strangled each other on the divine stairways, flung the deceptive books into the air shafts, met their death cast down in a similar fashion by the inhabitants of remote regions Others went mad The Vindications exist I have seen two which refer to persons of the future, to persons who are perhaps not imaginary but the searchers did not remember that the possibility of a man s finding his Vindication, or some treacherous variation thereof, can be computed as zero A masterpiece, not to be missed edited on 27.05.19I now held in my hands a vast and systematic fragment of the entire history of an unknown planet, with its architectures and its playing cards, the horror of its mythologies and the murmur of its tongues, its emperors and its seas, its minerals and its birds and fishes, its algebra and its fire, its theological and the metaphysical controversies all joined, articulated, coherent, and with no visible doctrinal purpose or hint of parody What could be said about a book which is in itself many books in a book or many authors in one, for are you capable enough to said anything What genre could encapsulate the breadth of this gem, which has been shining through the vagaries and austerity of time and space, of literature What so called forms which could have been defined by whatever produced, known and understood of literature for we are one and one is all could best describe it, be it novel, poetry, non novel, short story or essay, philosophy, memoir and others for that matter For it surpasses all the known or created formal or informal forms of literature The abovementioned questions come up from the vague recesses of our consciousness and challenge our so called knowledge and understanding of literature as we have known it These questions tremble our shallow buildings of self appeasing knowledge and send great discomfort for us to realize that we have absolutely no idea about literature, for our mind has been tied to the strings of dogmas, references for as human beings we need them which we have been telling ourselves since the very inception of literature A sense of shame creeps up for us to recognize that we are quite mediocre in our so called progress, for we have kept beating around the bush And perhaps the courage of all our might has not been assembled to produce something original in itself, which may have a being unto itself and doesn t require anything else to define its existence But then, suddenly, a sense of solace find its way to our heart and we come to discern that we are not Borges, for there had been only one, there would may be only one, for his style is inimitable There have been very few authors in the history of literature who could produce such impact of originality and Borges is certainly right up thereThere are many men adept in those diverse disciplines, but few capable of imagination fewer will capable of subordinating imagination to rigorous and systematic plan The plan is so vast that the contribution of each writer is infinitesimal Fictions introduced entirely new voice into world literature The collection continues to be among the most read, commented on and alluded to fictions of the century and despite the quality of so much of Borges s subsequent works, the collection continues to be most sought after book, perhaps have become his identity over the years What was striking aboutFictionsis that whenever and wherever it come to existence it immediately grabbed the imagination of readers for it is quintessential for a reader to be imaginative to understand Borges s world As we say one overdoes something until one perfects it, Borges has developed a much serene, subtler prose from the baroque style employing strained and startling metaphors from his early days, and mind you that quieter style has beauty of undertones which may take you to so many avenues in so little words He became so adept at his style in 40s that it got a particular name Borgesian like those of Dickensian and Kafkaesque But there wasthan just the style, the unclassificability and originality of these stories were among the most prominent factors which led uncomfortable but curious stir among readers and writers of that time, probably still continues to do in modern world Borges s prose style is characterized by an economy of resources in which words are being weighted through patience and erudite imagination which produce an truly original voice whose effects are not pompous but rather produced with a few words which may seem to be fitted into the sentence without disturbing its divine serenity and quietness The prose style of Borges may come across as intellectual with its allusion to literature which may be both existent or non existent , philosophy, religion, theology, myth, culture, history of Latin America He deftly used parallelism, chiasmus, subtle repetitions with variations to shock the reader in a pleasant way He combined literary and extraliterary genres in order to create a dynamic, electric genre The ingenious playing with the boundaries of genre was underlined by playfulness, cleverly though, in both prose style and attitude Borges was having real fun with these stories One just has to sit back and enjoy spotting the playfulness one learn that Borges s ways were mysterious and sometimes may be incomprehensible to na ve men We find that such spontaneous and playful attitude existed even in the most serious of his stories and readers unaccustomed to such techniques were constantly being made to feel just bit off balance This serious, high literature that sometimes went just over one s head or was this sport, spoof, playing, perhaps it was both The characters are not being developed like in traditional fiction, the role of the characters is just to create effect, which comes up on the surface of the story, and then to dissolve in nothingness to convey the greater theme of the story Borges considered and discarded seemingly all the previously known forms of literature and philosophy, creates a world ex nihilo for there was nothing to write and nothing be written Yet minutely studied, Borges, like Kafka, under close scrutiny reveals subtle affinities with other forms of literature, exhibits an unmistakable existential angst This new wave of literature reintroduced irony, angst, existential dilemma, a knowing worldliness which was overshadowed by seriousness and realism of previous age There have been ingenious authors in past too but it had taken them hundreds of pages and the invention of an entirely new language to communicate what Borges has done in sparingly three or four pages He has managed to turn language upon itself to reverse himself time after time with a sentence or a paragraph with relentless logic so that it comes up as a pleasant surprise.Borges s universe is successive in nature where in there is a heterogenous series of independent acts, the world is temporal not spatial as we generally know it on earth The universe is based on all possible probabilities which in turn give rise to infinite successive possibilities which give birth to infinite universes co existing together in a labyrinth, which is surreal, does not have clear demarcation between physics and metaphysics real and unreal right and wrong myth and belief the rules are, of course, different than that in our universe The language and things derived from the language religion, literature, metaphysics, myth presuppose idealism These universes are congenitally, idealistic There is only one discipline which is psychology to which all others are subordinate The fiction has only one plot, with every imaginable permutation the works of philosophy invariably contains both thesis and antithesis There is a library or universe itself which contains all possible books of entire universe or rather multiverses in it all books, however different from one another they might be, consist of identical elements the space, the period, the comma and letters of alphabet so the library has all the possible combinations of all letters of the alphabet There is a person in Borges s universe who may reconstruct every dream, every day dream he had ever had He can even reconstruct an entire day and he had never erred Several people count the same quantity come to the same result is an example of association of ideas or of memorization, for subject knowledge is one and eternal there There are paths which fork from themselves and lead unto themselves These universes are built upon various possibilities of a tussle between chance and self determinism These parallel or successive universes repeats themselves as a hand of card does after multiple runs While we sleep in one universe, we are awake somewhere else, so every men is in fact many men, all men are one and one is all men The space is not conceived as having duration in time, posterior stage of subject can t affect universe, only prior stages can do There is no concept of time there, for present is undefined and indefinite, the future has no reality except as present hope, and the past has no reality except as present recollection It is believed that time passes differently for everyone for it is not uniform, depends upon medium and perceiver Perhaps all the time has already passed, so that our life is but the crepuscular memory, or crepuscular reflection, doubtlessly distorted and mutilated, of an irrecoverable processI recall him though I have no right to speak that sacred verb only one man on earth did, and the man is dead holding a dark passionflower in his hand, seeing it as it has never been seen, even had it been stared at from the first light of dawn till the last light of evening for an entire lifetime The stories of the collection co exist in the same labyrinth wherein the reader may move one to another through strings of probabilities, intertextuality for some of the stories refer to other and narrator in one stories talks about creation of another one The boundaries between fact and fiction, between essay and short story are being expertly blended and the border between genres too is obliterated quite adeptly In fact, he created three genres the essay, the poem and the short story as mentioned by Octavio Paz but the division is arbitrary his essays read like stories, his stories are poems and his poems are essays Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, The Library of Babel, The Lottery in Babylon, The Circular Ruins, The Secret Miracle and The Southseem to belong science fiction or fantasy, although in their treatment of their major themes, they areerudite and philosophical in nature The themes of chance versus determination, conception and writing of our history, ideation and transmission of philosophical and mathematical systems existence of various levels of realities could be explored in these stories of the collection While other ones The Approach to Al Mu tasim, Pierre Menard, A Survey of the Works of Herbert Quain and The Versions of Judascome across as book reviews or critical monographs of non existent books but they were as convincing as any reviews or criticisms may beFunes, His Memory, The Garden of Forking Paths and The Shape of the Swordcould be said as imaginative fiction where fictions about fictions anticipated metafictional concerns of postmodernism We find traits of detective fiction too in The Garden of Forking Paths, Death and the Compass and The Theme of the Traitor amd the Hero on the other hand The Circular Ruins, The Lottery of Babylon and The Cult of the Phoenixwere told in a style that recalled myth and were set in distant times and places that made them seem parables, both ageless and perfectly contemporary But all the stories are common in a sense that we may find an existential angst in all of them wherein either characters or narrators or the story itself struggles to define its existence in the unique world of Borges.Borges s own diminishing eye sight perhaps helped his imagination to grow leaps and bound than to cause harm to him, which resulted such an extraordinary achievement in world literature It is one of those unforgettable experiences which one may come across once in a lifetime but every word of this gem is worth it In his essay on Borges, Perez wrote that he has created his own type of post avant grade literature which shows the process of critical self examination that reveals the moment in which literature becomes a reflection of itself, distanced from life on order to reveal the formal and intellectual density involved in writingI am something of a connoisseur of mazes not for nothing am I the great grandson of that Ts ui Pen who power in order to write a novel containingcharacters than the Hung Lu Meng and construct a labyrinth in which all men would lose their way 3.5 5 There can be at times circumstances that affect your thoughts on what s being read Or even just the way that you read it This is one of those very occasion where I will undoubtedly benefit reading again It s clear to see why Jorge Luis Borges is regarded as one of the 20th century s most inventive writers, and Ficciones is a collection of small stories that are on a grand scale, but my overall problem was going through three or four at a time and finding them hard to digest, jumping from one to another just didn t work for me And only read the last few days apart giving me a chance to fully think about about them, this worked so much better, but still left me feeling a bit dumbfounded Also was not reading the best translated version, so that didn t help either Borges never compromised himself by writing a novel but instead left a whole library of delicately structured maze like speculations Each one is like the Tardis little time machines of the imagination and far bigger within than they appear on the outside, and there is certainly plenty to keep one occupied writers, dreamers, heretics, young men with impossible memories, other worlds revealed by secret encyclopedias, traitors transformed by betrayal, conspirators that plot their own downfall 17 pieces, none longer than 25 pages none shorter than a lifetime It s difficult to pick a favourite but Death and the Compass and The Sect of the Phoenix were two that I read twice.I am sure this collection will grow on me, and multiple readings built up over time will no doubt chance my perception from reading the first time, into something very special indeed Metaphor Infinity Sophistry Penumbra Symbolic LABYRINTH Heresiarch Prefigured Philology Nihilism Maze AllegoricalThis may not be the prettiest word cloud ever constructed, but I think it s a fair representation of the Ficciones experience Much of the time spent trying to solve the stories puzzles involves bandying these concepts about I can t honestly say I understood them all, but moments when something did click were exciting because the ideas behind them were subtle and cryptic Comprehension somehow boosts us to a higher plane The ultimate in advancement, if it can be imagined, is the universal infinitude of all experience Thegrounded me says, Steve, aren t you kinda, like, talkin out your ass And thegrounded me answers, yes However, I contend that Borges himself, if asked, might have said the same thing though surelyartfully For him, I think, it was the mind bending absurdity of the questions he posed rather than some metaphysical and unattainable truth of the matter that excited him It s hard to describe these stories to anyone who hasn t read them, and harder still to back what I m saying by way of example Instead what I ll attempt is a bit of Borges inspired logic that may not have been the exact point of his stories, but occurred to me as a result of reading them.If we take as a given that time is infinite, then every possible set of realities would have a chance to play out If in one iteration I typed an O here, I could in another type an X, with all else being the same Every single permutation imaginable could occur as each Big Bang and collapse in infinite time came to fruition Imagine the implications Borges did, at least in a way In one story he imagined a near infinite library containing books with every possible letter combination In such a place, a man could conceivably find the story of his life, though practically speaking, and without Google, it would be damned difficult Borges also considered a single book that could contain all knowledge, made possible by pages that were infinitesimally thin Zeno s paradox, as Borges mentioned, can be explained in a similar way where infinitely many infinitely small increments can be summed to something we can observe in the physically limited world To Borges, a labyrinth is a similar metaphor of life Each person has a complex set of turns in a ridiculously intricate path that I think represents every decision we face right, left, X, O, date, dump whatever It s this kind of thing that the man of many places he lived in Argentina, Switzerland and Spain and many languages he translated Wilde, Shakespeare, Kafka, Poe, Hesse, Gide, Whitman and Woolf among others would have resonate for its universality and unboundedness.While I have huge respect for the man, I also feel like I m not his ideal audience For instance, his philological references exposed me for the literary dilettante that I am He could also come across as a bit too academic for my taste, and at times even tedious I will not challenge its status as a classic, though In fact, I truly enjoyed the quasi logical extremes he went to in pursuit of intellectual entertainment, imaginative possibilities and hard won ah ha moments I liken this to the total consciousness that the Dalai Lama promised groundskeeper Karl Spackler in Caddyshack.

Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo, usually referred to as Jorge Luis Borges Spanish pronunciation xo xe lwis bo xes , was an Argentine writer and poet born in Buenos Aires In 1914, his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school and traveled to Spain On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals He also wo

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  • Paperback
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  • Ficciones
  • Jorge Luis Borges
  • English
  • 28 November 2018
  • 9780802130303

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