Customer Reviews for

Ficciones

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Even though I don't enjoy reading short stories, Ficciones is a must for every Latin American Literature enthusiast and Borges' most renown work.

    Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges, 1956 edition.

    In 1941, Borges' first anthology of fiction, The Garden of Forking Paths (El Jardín de senderos que se bifurcan) was published. It contained eight stories. In 1944, a new section labeled "Artifices," containing six stories, was added to the eight of The Garden of Forking Paths. These were given the collective title Ficciones. Borges added three more stories to the "Artifices" section in the 1956 edition.

    Ficciones emphasizes and calls attention to its fictional nature. The choice and use of literary devices are conspicuous in the stories.

    The labyrinth is a recurring theme throughout the stories. It is used as a metaphor to represent a variety of things: the overwhelmingly complex nature of worlds and the systems that exist on them, human enterprises, the physical and mental aspects of humans, and abstract concepts such as time. The stories of Borges can be seen as a type of labyrinth themselves.

    Borges often gives his first-person narrators the name "Borges." While he imparts many of his own characteristics in them, he does not idealize them, and gives them human failings as well.

    English phrases appear intermittently in his Spanish stories. Occasionally, the title is in English.

    Borges often puts his protagonists in red enclosures. This has led to analysis of his stories from a Freudian viewpoint, although Borges himself strongly disliked his work being interpreted in such a way.

    Borges began playing with a new style of writing, for which he would become famous. His first story written after his accident, "Pierre Menard, Author of The Quixote" came in May 1939, examining the father-son relationship and the nature of authorship. His first collection of short stories, El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (The Garden of Forking Paths), appeared in 1941, composed mostly of works previously published in Sur. The title story concerns a Chinese professor in England, Dr. Yu Tsun, who spies for Germany during World War I, in an attempt to prove to the authorities that an Asian person is able to obtain the information that they seek. A combination of book and maze, it can be read in many ways. Through it, Borges arguably invented the hypertext novel and went on to describe a theory of the universe based upon the structure of such a novel

    Borges loved books and gives detailed descriptions of the characteristics of the fictional texts in his stories.

    Other themes throughout his stories include: deterioration and ruination; games of strategy and chance; conspiracies and secret societies; and ethnic groups, especially those in his own ancestry.

    His stories often have fantastical themes, such as a library containing every possible 410-page text ("The Library of Babel"), a man who forgets nothing he experiences ("Funes, the Memorious"), an artifact through which the user can see everything in the universe ("The Aleph"), and a year of still time given to a man standing before a firing squad ("The Secret Miracle").

    Even though I don't enjoy reading short stories, Ficciones is a must for every Latin American Literature enthusiast and Borges' most renown work.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2009

    A book for Spanish readers/ Un libro para lectores espanoles!

    Borges is one of the greatest Argentine writers of the time. This is a collection of several stories that are not too long for the intermediate reader of Spanish.
    "Ficciones" es un libro escrito en espanol por Jorge luis Borge y consiste de varias cuentos cortos.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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