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Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Luis Borges


Born in Buenos Aires on August 24, 1899, Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine journalist, author and poet. His works, holding a prominent position in world literature are considered to be among the classics of 20th century. In addition to founding three literary journals, Borges authored several volumes of poems, essays and a biography.

Jorge Luis Borges belonged to a notable Argentine family in Buenos Aires who had British ancestors. He learned English before he could speak Spanish. Literature was enrooted in him at an early age when he started reading books from his father’s library and decided to make a career in literature when he grew up. In 1914, Borges travelled to Geneva where he earned a B.A. degree from the Collge de Genve. He travelled more to Majorca and mainland Spain where he joined the Ultraist movement before returning to Buenos Aires in 1921. Upon discovering the beauty of his city with a newfound vision, Borges began writing poems in the city’s praise producing his first publication which was a volume of poems entitled Fervor de Buenos Aires, poemas (1923). Not looking back, Borges published several more volumes of poems, essays and a biography Evaristo Carriego (1930).

Borges then moved on to writing fiction publishing Historia universal de la infamia in 1935. In 1938, he was appointed at a key post in the Buenos Aires library where he would spend nine years, never happy or satisfied with the work he had to do. In the same year as his father’s death in 1938, Borges encountered a severe head injury which affected his speech and also caused blood poisoning. He lived for eight more years, losing the battle of life on June 14, 1986 in Geneva, Switzerland. The eight years before his death proved to be the most productive in terms of Borges’ literary career. He wrote his best stories, later collected in Ficciones and a volume of English translations The Aleph and Other Stories (1933–69). Borges also wrote some detective stories in collaboration with another writer under the pseudonym H. Bustos Domecq. The detective stories entitled Seis problemas para Don Isidro Parodi were published in 1942.

When Borges showed support for the Allies in World War II, he was dismissed from his position at the library under the dictatorship of Juan Perón. Borges now supported himself by lecturing, writing and editing. In 1952, Borges produced his best collection of essays Otras inquisiciones (1937–1952). Borges became director of the national library when Perón was overthrown in 1955. This was a great honor for Borges and he was also appointed as a professor of English and American literature at the University of Buenos Aires.

An unfortunate condition of his eyes caused Borges total blindness not allowing him to write long texts forcing him to dictate his creations to his mother, secretaries or friends. Some of Borges’ works from this era include El hacedor (1960), El libro de los seres imaginarios (1967), El informe de Brodie (1970) and El libro de arena (1975).

Jorge Luis Borges was awarded the Formentor Prize, an international award given for unpublished manuscripts and highly critically acclaimed for his indispensable contributions to the 20th century world literature.

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