Reading Borges after Benjamin: Allegory, Afterlife and the Writing of History


Together with original readings of some of Benjamin’s finest essays, this book examines a series of Borges’s works as allegories of Argentine modernity.
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Reading Borges after Benjamin: Allegory, Afterlife, and the Writing of History

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Together with original readings of some of Benjamin’s finest essays, this book examines a series of Borges’s works as allegories of Argentine modernity.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In Kate Jencke’s clearly written and often persuasive book, Borges scholars finally encounter a sustained study of the remarkable parallels and intersections in Borges and Walter Benjamin’s thought … Jenckes [skillfully] intertwines Benjamin’s thinking with Borges’s texts; so skillfully, in fact, that one might finish this book wondering how it was ever possible to read Borges before Benjamin.” — Variaciones Borges

“This book is a clever turning point in our contextual readings of Borges; it suggests the need to come back to the texts in order to move forward. Departing from an early poem on a family gravestone, Kate Jenckes unfolds Borges’s notion of a national allegory, ironically illustrated by lives of eternal infamy. From there, Jenckes manages to engage Borges and Benjamin in a lively conversation. The reader will be part of it, thanks to this discreet, persuasive argument.” — Julio Ortega, Brown University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kate Jenckes is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan.

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Table of Contents


1. Origins and Orillas: History, City, and Death in the Early Poems

Family Trees
A Journey of No Return
Borges and His (Own) Precursors
Sepulchral Rhetoric
Life Possessions
Melancholic Fervor
The Orillas
Acts of Life

2. Bios-Graphus: Evaristo Carriego and the Limits of the Written Subject

The Fallible God of the “I”
Life and Death
The Other American Poet
The Paradoxes of Biography
Carriego Is (Not) Carriego
Violence, Life, and Law
“Generous” Duels

3. Allegory, Ideology, Infamy: Allegories of History in Historia

Universal de la Infamia
“National” Allegory
Two Moments of Allegory
Magical Endings Et Cetera

4. Reading History’s Secrets in Benjamin and Borges

Historical Idealism and the Materiality of Writing
The Conquests of Time
History’s Secrets
Possession or the “Weak Force” of Redemption
Refuting Time
Ego Sum
Terrible Infinity
Recurrent Imminence
Reading, Writing, Mourning History

Works Cited
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