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From Barnes & NobleInternational literary icon Jorge Luis Borges has been called be the greatest Spanish-language writer of this century. Now, for the first time in English, all of Borges's magical fictions are collected in a single volume -- from his 1935 debut with The Universal History of Iniquity through his immensely influential collections Fictions and The Aleph, up to his final work in the 1980s, the previously uncollected Shakespeare's Memory. In Andrew Hurley's vivid new translations, familiar stories such as "Funes, His Memory," "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote," and "The Library of Babel" will delight longtime Borges fans and captivate a new generation of readers. Published on the eve of the centenary of Borges's birth, Collected Fictions is the first book in a projected three-volume compendium of Borges's works that will include a collection of his poetry and a selection of his nonfiction writings.
Readers familiar with Borges's fictions will find in Hurley's new translation a uniquely Borgesian twist: Just as Borges's Pierre Menard struggled to recompose Miguel de Cervantes' Quixote from a remove of three centuries, only to find that verbatim passages had taken on a new context, a new reading of these stories invests them with their own new meanings and contexts. Similarly, knowing that Borges intended "The Library of Babel" as a nightmarish allegory for the nine years he spent cataloging the holdings of a municipal library puts a new, earthbound spin on this intricate fantasy. Certain aspects of Hurley's translation may shock the seasoned reader: The story that has long appeared under the title "Funes the Memorious" has here been changed to "Funes, His Memory." Despite the argument Hurley makes for changing the title, the neologism "memorious" is certainly more sonorous and better recalls the Spanish ("Funes el memorioso").
However titled, "Funes" is a brilliant exposition of the limitations of language and the Heraclitean philosophy that all is change and becoming, that "you can never step into the same river twice."