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Jorge Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires in 1989 and was educated in Europe. One of the most widely acclaimed writers of our time, he published many collections of poems, essays, and short stories before his death in Geneva in June 1986. In 1961 Borges shared the International Publisher's prize with Samuel Beckett. The Ingram Merrill Foundation granted him its Annual Literary Award in 1966 for his "outstanding contribution to literature." In 1971 Columbia University awarded him the first of many degrees of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa (eventually the list included both Oxford and Cambridge), that he was to receive from the English-speaking world. In 1971 he also received the fifth biennial Jerusalem Prize and in 1973 was given one of Mexico's most prestigious cultural awards, the Alfonso Reyes Prize. In 1980 he shared with Gerardo Diego the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish world's highest literary accolade. Borges was Director of the Argentine National Library from 1955 until 1973. Andrew Hurley (editor/translator) is a translator of numerous works of literature, criticism, history, and memoir. He is professor emeritus at the University of Puerto Rico.
Borges, one of the giants of 20th-century world literature and a pioneer of Spanish American letters, is the master of the short tale he called ficcion. Not quite short stories, Borgesian narrations are metaphysical speculation, the elaborate working out of a hypothetical premise or philosophical concept. Published partly in commemoration of the centennial of his birth, this collection marks the first time that all his narratives, stretching over 50 years, have been compiled in one volume in English. Except for Shakespeare's Memory, which appears here in translation for the first time, the other seven books have appeared separately. The Reign of Labyrinths (1964), the staple anthology for years, will now more than likely be usurped by this more modern translation, which has useful notes about Argentine history and culture. What a thrill to find old favorites‘"The Circular Ruins," "Pierre Menard," "The Library of Babel"‘updated and boxed with lesser-known gems. An exciting publication event and an indispensable acquisition for all libraries; collected poetry and nonfiction are slated to follow next year.‘Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH
Undeniably one of the most influential writers to emerge in this century from Latin America or anywhere else, Borges (1899-1986) is best known for his short stories, all of which appear here for the first time in one volume, translated and annotated by University of Puerto Rico professor Hurley. Many of the stories return to the same set of images and themes that mark Borges's best known work: the code of ethics embraced by gauchos, knifefighters and outlaws; labyrinths; confrontations with one's doppelgänger; and discoveries of artifacts from other worlds (an encyclopedia of a mysterious region in Iraq; a strange disc that has only one side and that gives a king his power; a menacing book that infinitely multiplies its own pages; fragmentary manuscripts that narrate otherworldly accounts of lands of the immortals). Less familiar are episodes that narrate the violent, sordid careers of pirates and outlaws like Billy the Kid (particularly in the early collection A Universal History of Iniquity) or attempts to dramatize the consciousness of Shakespeare or Homer. Elusive, erudite, melancholic, Borges's fiction will intrigue the general reader as well as the scholar. This is the first in a series of three new translations (including the Collected Poems and Collected Nonfictions, all timed to coincide with the centennial of the author's birth), which will offer an alternative to the extensive but very controversial collaborations between Borges and Norman Thomas di Giovanni. First serial rights to the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books and Grand Street. (Sept.)
A New York Times Notable Book "A marvelous new collection of stories by one of the most remarkable writers of our century." --The New York Times "The major work of probably the most influential Latin American writer of the century." --The Washington Post Book World "An unparalleled treasury of marvels . . . Along with a tiny cohort of peers, and seers (Kafka and Joyce come to mind), Borges is more than a stunning storyteller and a brilliant stylist; he's a mirror who reflects the spirit of his time." --Chicago Tribune "An event worth of celebration . . . Hurley deserves our enthusiastic praise for this monumental piece of work." --San Francisco Chronicle "Borges is the most important Spanish-language writer since Cervantes. . . . To have denied him the Nobel Prize is as bad as the case of Joyce, Proust, and Kafka." --Mario Vargas Llosa "When I read a good book, I sometimes like to think I might be capable of writing something similar, but never, in my wildest dreams, could I write anything that approaches the level of cleverness and intellect and madness of Borges. I don't think anyone could." --Daniel Radcliffe