Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges
Selected Stories and Other Writings

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Synopsis

Jorge Luis Borges' "Labyrinths" is a collection of short stories and essays showcasing one of Latin America's most influential and imaginative writers. This "Penguin Modern Classics" edition is edited by Donald A. Yates and James E. Irby, with an introduction by James E. Irby and a preface by Andre Maurois. Jorge Luis Borges was a literary spellbinder whose tales of magic, mystery and murder are shot through with deep philosophical paradoxes. This collection brings together many of his stories, including the celebrated "Library of Babel", whose infinite shelves contain every book that could ever exist, 'Funes the Memorious' the tale of a man fated never to forget a single detail of his life, and 'Pierre Menard, Author of the "Quixote"', in which a French poet makes it his life's work to create an identical copy of "Don Quixote". In later life, dogged by increasing blindness, Borges used essays and brief tantalising parables to explore the enigma of time, identity and imagination. Playful and disturbing, scholarly and seductive, his is a haunting and utterly distinctive voice. Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A poet, critic and short story writer, he received numerous awards for his work including the 1961 International Publisher's Prize (shared with Samuel Beckett). He has a reasonable claim, along with Kafka and Joyce, to be one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. If you enjoyed "Labyrinths", you might like Franz Kafka's "Metamorphosis and Other Stories", also available in "Penguin Modern Classics". "His is the literature of eternity". (Peter Ackroyd, "The Times"). "One of the towering figures of literature in Spanish". (James Woodall, "Guardian"). "Probably the greatest twentieth-century author never to win the Nobel Prize". ("Economist").
 

About Jorge Luis Borges

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Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1899, Jorge Borges was educated by an English governess and later studied in Europe. He returned to Buenos Aires in 1921, where he helped to found several avant-garde literary periodicals. In 1955, after the fall of Juan Peron, whom he vigorously opposed, he was appointed director of the Argentine National Library. With Samuel Beckett he was awarded the $10,000 International Publishers Prize in 1961, which helped to establish him as one of the most prominent writers in the world. Borges regularly taught and lectured throughout the United States and Europe. His ideas have been a profound influence on writers throughout the Western world and on the most recent developments in literary and critical theory. A prolific writer of essays, short stories, and plays, Borges's concerns are perhaps clearest in his stories. He regarded people's endeavors to understand an incomprehensible world as fiction; hence, his fiction is metaphysical and based on what he called an esthetics of the intellect. Some critics have called him a mystic of the intellect. Dreamtigers (1960) is considered a masterpiece. A central image in Borges's work is the labyrinth, a mental and poetic construct, that he considered a universe in miniature, which human beings build and therefore believe they control but which nevertheless traps them. In spite of Borges's belief that people cannot understand the chaotic world, he continually attempted to do so in his writing. Much of his work deals with people's efforts to find the center of the labyrinth, symbolic of achieving understanding of their place in a mysterious universe. In such later works as The Gold of the Tigers, Borges wrote of his lifelong descent into blindness and how it affected his perceptions of the world and himself as a writer. Borges died in Geneva in 1986.
 
Published January 1, 1964 by New Directions. 258 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Labyrinths

Huffington Post

The Chartres Cathedral has a labyrinth in the floor of the church where it serves as a tool for contemplation, meditation, and prayer.

Jan 13 2014 | Read Full Review of Labyrinths: Selected Stories ...

Bookmarks Magazine

Umberto Eco's international bestseller, The Name of the Rose, is, on one level, an elaborate improvisation on Borges' fiction "The Library," which American readers first encountered in the original 1962 New Directions publication of Labyrinths.

This new edition of <...

Oct 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Labyrinths: Selected Stories ...

The Fortnightly Review

Yeats reckoned that ‘a man is lost amidst the labyrinth he has made/In art or politics’, though it is hard to see why he needed to restrict the self-made labyrinth to those two realms.

Mar 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Labyrinths: Selected Stories ...

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