Out of Context: Historical Reference and the Representation of Reality in Borges

Out of Context: Historical Reference and the Representation of Reality in Borges

by Daniel Balderston
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822313162

ISBN-13: 9780822313168

Pub. Date: 03/12/1993

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

In Jorge Luis Borges's finely wrought, fantastic stories, so filigreed with strange allusions, critics have consistently found little to relate to the external world, to history—in short, to reality. Out of Context corrects this shortsighted view and reveals the very real basis of the Argentine master's purported "irreality." By providing the

Overview

In Jorge Luis Borges's finely wrought, fantastic stories, so filigreed with strange allusions, critics have consistently found little to relate to the external world, to history—in short, to reality. Out of Context corrects this shortsighted view and reveals the very real basis of the Argentine master's purported "irreality." By providing the historical context for some of the writer's best-loved and least understood works, this study also gives us a new sense of Borges's place within the context of contemporary literature.
Through a detailed examination of seven stories, Daniel Balderston shows how Borges's historical and political references, so often misread as part of a literary game, actually open up a much more complex reality than the one made explicit to the reader. Working in tension with the fantastic aspects of Borges' work, these precise references to realities outside the text illuminate relations between literature and history as well as the author's particular understanding of both. In Borges's perspective as it is revealed here, history emerges as an "other" only partially recoverable in narrative form. From what can be recovered, Balderston is able to clarify Borges's position on historical episodes and trends such as colonialism, the Peronist movement, "Western culture," militarism, and the Spanish invasion of the Americas.
Informed by a wide reading of history, a sympathetic use of critical theory, and a deep understanding of Borges's work, this iconoclastic study provides a radical new approach to one of the most celebrated and—until now—hermetic authors of our time.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822313168
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
03/12/1993
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
231
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments,
1 Introduction: History, Politics, and Literature in Borges,
2 Menard and His Contemporaries: The Arms and Letters Debate,
3 The "Labyrinth of Trenches without Any Plan" in "El jardin de senderos que se bifurcan",
4 Prague, March 1939: Recovering the Historicity of "El milagro secreto",
5 Cryptogram and Scripture: Losing Count in "La escritura del dios",
6 Going Native: Beyond Civilization and Savagery in "Historia del guerrero y de la cautiva",
7 On the Threshold of Otherness: British India in "El hombre en el umbral",
8 Behind Closed Doors: The Guayaquil Meeting and the Silences of History,
9 Conclusion,
Notes,
Works Cited,

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