Borges, Jorge Luis


Borges, Jorge Luis
(1899–1986)
   Argentine poet and narrator. Possibly the most important writer in 20th-century Argentina. He was born in Buenos Aires into an aristocratic family of Anglo- Spanish heritage, having distinguished connections to the nation’s criollo past. In his childhood, the Borges family settled in Palermo, a suburb in the northern section of Buenos Aires. Palermo’s colorful legacy of violence, tango, and politics would find its way into the early prose of the young writer. In 1914 the family moved to Switzerland, where Borges attended a lycée and learned French, German, and Latin. Upon his graduation, his family had an extended stay in Spain, where the young writer soon became a familiar figure among the avant-garde ultraísta movement. On his return to Buenos Aires in 1921, Borges immersed himself into the vibrant intellectual life of the Argentine capital and founded an avant-garde journal, Prisma. In 1923 he published his first book of poetry, Fervor de Buenos Aires. After a yearlong stay in Spain, he returned to Buenos Aires and embarked on a decade of productive literary work. He became associated with the most influential journals of the day, most notably Martín Fierro, Proa, and, later, Sur, edited by Victoria Ocampo. In 1927 he underwent an operation for cataracts, the first of what would be a long series of attempts to save his vision. None would succeed; by the end of his life he would be totally blind. In 1928 Borges campaigned for the reelection of former president Hipólito Yrigoyen. Two years later, Yrigoyen was deposed by a military junta, the first of several repressive governments in 20th-century Argentina. In 1937 Borges accepted a position as First Assistant in the Miguel Cané Branch of the Buenos Aires Municipal Library. It was a job he would hold for nine years and one that he would later describe as a “menial and dismal existence.” The last years of the 1930s would also bring a series of setbacks to the writer. Earlier, in 1935, his English-born grandmother, Frances Haslam de Borges—a key figure in introducing the young Borges to English literature—died, a death followed in 1938 by that of his father, Jorge Guillermo Borges. Soon after, the writer suffered a head wound—an incident he later retold in his short story “El Sur”—and spent several weeks in the hospital near death from septicemia. He soon began working on his most important stories, collected in El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (1941), which would later be incorporated into another collection and retitled Ficciones (1944).
   In 1946 Juan Perón was elected president of Argentina. Owing to his association with the Yrigoyen campaign and his presidency of the Sociedad Argentina de Escritores (Argentine Writers’ Society), a professional group with anti-Peronist overtones, Borges was demoted to “Inspector of Poultry and Rabbits in the Public Market.” He resigned and soon accepted a number of teaching and lecturing jobs across Argentina and Uruguay. In 1951 the first foreign translation of his work—a French edition of Ficciones—was published. After the fall of Perón in 1955, Borges was appointed director of the National Library, and soon after, the University of Buenos Aires named him Professor of English and American Literature, a post he would hold for 12 years. In 1956 he won the National Prize for Literature. Worldwide recognition of his work—which had eluded him until then—followed in 1961, when Borges and Samuel Beckett shared the International Publishers Prize (the Formentor Prize), awarded by a group of European and American publishers. That year, he visited the United States for the first time as a visiting professor at the University of Texas in Austin, a period followed by travels and lecture across the United States, Europe, and several Latin American countries. In 1967 and 1968 he held the Charles Eliot Norton Chair of Poetry at Harvard University and lectured extensively throughout the United States. As with the earlier visit to the United States, this period was followed by travels in Europe—where he received numerous official honors and was invested a Doctor Honoris Causa by Oxford University—and by visits and lectures in Israel. In 1973 Borges resigned his post at the National Library following Perón’s return from exile and his reelection to the presidency of Argentina. That same year he received major awards from Mexico and Spain. A one-volume edition of his Obras completas was published in 1974, though he would continue to publish new works for a few more years. In 1975, his mother and longtime traveling companion, Leonor Acevedo Suárez de Borges, died at the age of 99. An invitation by the Japanese Ministry of Education to visit Japan in 1976 preceded by a few months the right-wing military coup that overthrew the government of Isabel Perón, Juan Perón’s widow and successor. Given Borges’s stature as perhaps Argentina’s most internationally known writer in 1976, the Argentine intellectual community was dismayed at his initial lack of condemnation of the military coup. Although Borges would later denounce what he termed the “absurd war” over the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas, his reputation would suffer a severe blow owing to his apparent endorsement of the regime of General Jorge Videla and its tactics. Borges died on 14 June 1986 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Historical Dictionary of the “Dirty Wars” . . 2010.

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  • Borges, Jorge Luis — born Aug. 24, 1899, Buenos Aires, Arg. died June 14, 1986, Geneva, Switz. Argentine poet, essayist, and short story writer. Educated in Switzerland, Borges recognized early that he would have a literary career. From the 1920s on he was afflicted… …   Universalium

  • Borges, Jorge Luis — ► (1899 1986) Escritor argentino. Se educó en un ambiente influido por la cultura inglesa y estudió en Ginebra. Explorador de la irrealidad, construyó un lenguaje y con este unos mundos donde la realidad se confunde con el sueño. Su obra es… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Borges,Jorge Luis — Bor·ges (bôrʹhĕs), Jorge Luis. 1899 1986. Argentinian writer particularly known for his short stories, which have a metaphysical, fantastic quality.   Bor·gesʹi·an ( hāʹsē ən, hĕsʹē ) adj. * * * …   Universalium

  • Borges, Jorge Luis —   (1899 1986)   see globalisation , literature , modernity and poetic resolution …   The Baudrillard dictionary

  • Jorge Luis Borgès — Jorge Luis Borges Pour les articles homonymes, voir Borges. Jorge Luis Borges …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jorge Luis Borges — «Borges» redirige aquí. Para otras acepciones, véase Borges (desambiguación). Jorge Luis Borges …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jorge Luis Borges — Infobox Writer name = Jorge Luis Borges birthname = Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges birthdate = birth date|df=yes|1899|8|24 birthplace = Buenos Aires, Argentina deathdate = death date and age|df=yes|1986|6|14|1899|8|24 deathplace = Geneva,… …   Wikipedia

  • Jorge Luis Borges — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Borges. Jorge Luis Borges …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jorge Luis Borges — Jorge Luis Borges, 1969 Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo (ˈxorxe ˈlwis ˈβorxes; * 24. August 1899 in Buenos Aires; † 14. Juni 1986 in Genf) war ein argentinischer Schriftsteller und …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jorge Luís — Infobox Given Name Revised name = Jorge Luís imagesize= caption= pronunciation= gender = Male meaning = region = Portuguese origin = related names = footnotes = Jorge Luís is a Portuguese given name: *Jorge Luis Borges, (1899 1986), Argentine… …   Wikipedia


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