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Why Borges

The international reputation of Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) often hides what his work can offer as an object of interdisciplinary research.

Borges left a prolific body of literature, paradoxically distinguished by its internationalism and the nostalgic love for some mythical or minimal places: Buenos Aires, the "South", Iceland, England, the Far East, some courts, some street-corners. Passionately interested in Nordic mythology and languages, he systematically undertook the study of the old Scandinavian tongue. European intellectuals discovered and proclaimed his originality, even before he was recognized at home.

As Ivan Almeida and Cristina Parodi said when they founded the Borges Center in Denmark in 1995:

"A deep philosopher of poetry and poet of philosophy, Borges presents each of his writings as an ontological enigma. And reciprocally, a borgesian story or poem often assumes the patterns of a treatise.

Although Borges could justifiably be considered the most erudite writer of this century, his works frequently provide the reader with moments of intact emotion or simple entertainment. Fantastic ontologies, synchronic genealogies, utopian grammars, fictional geographies, multiple universal histories, logical bestiaries, ornithological syllogisms, narrative ethics, imaginary mathematics, theological thrillers, nostalgic geometries and invented remembrances, are part of the huge landscape Borges' works offer both to the academic scholar and the casual reader. And over all things, the philosophy, conceived as perplexity, the thought as conjecture, and the poetry as the deepest form of rationality.

Being a pure 'literature man', but paradoxically preferred by semioticians, mathematicians, philologists, philosophers and mythologists, Borges offers -through the perfection of his language, the extent of his knowledge, the universalism of his ideas, the originality of his fictions, and the beauty of his poetry- a real summa that does honour to the Spanish language and the universal mind.

Borges used to say that he was less proud of his writings than of his readings. And it is true that, very often, his imitators prove to be quite mediocre writers, while the very borgesian distinguish themselves on the quality of their reading. Hence, the Borges Center is not exclusively devoted to the exegesis of Borges' writings, but principally to his way of reading: the way he reads the book, as a universe, the way he reads the universe, as book...

This determines some kind of 'borgesian style', which goes beyond the person of Borges. This Borges style combines, and sometimes wisely jams, usually incompatible genres. A deep philosopher of poetry and poet of philosophy, Borges presents each of his writings as an ontological riddle. And reciprocally, a borgesian story or poem often assumes the patterns of a treatise. This Borges' style of intellectual behaviour which, although marginally, has been present throughout the history of thinking can be defined as a development of 'transverse epistemologies'. It is not to be taken for a pure interdisciplinarity, because what is here is less a confluence of methodologies than the epistemological displacement from one area of relevance to another (something as an 'hypalagical' scientific attitude...).

This is horizon of the adventure the Center aims..."


This is the list of the principal services offered by the Borges Center.

You can read our main page in English, Spanish or French, and visit the site devoted to Variaciones Borges, the journal of the Center,  which you can order online.

In the page Borges Studies Online, you can read on line thousands of pages with articles and books sent by their authors.

The item "Book reviews" allows you to have a previous taste of hundreds of specialized books devoted to Borges studies.

You can also consult two different bibliographies of Borges Works. The first one, by Annick Louis and Florian Ziche is a (almost) complete "general" bibliography. The second one, by Sergio Pastormerlo, lists and classify only the titles about literary criticism. The timeline bibliography was compiled by Daniel Balderston.

You can browse the catalogue of books and articles in the Documentation Archive, read chronicles and latest news, follow links to other Borges sites.


Finally, especially prepared for you, a taste of Borges art... Enjoy it!