This Craft of Verse by Jorge Luis Borges
(Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Available in cloth, paper, or audio CD

Through a twist of fate that the author of Labyrinths himself would have relished, these lost lectures given in English at Harvard in 1967-1968 by Jorge Luis Borges return to us now, a recovered tale of a life-long love affair with literature and the English language. Transcribed from tapes only recently discovered, This Craft of Verse captures the cadences, candor, wit, and remarkable erudition of one of the most extraordinary and enduring literary voices of the twentieth century. In its wide-ranging commentary and exquisite insights, the book stands as a deeply personal yet far-reaching introduction to the pleasures of the word, and as a first-hand testimony to the life of literature.

Though his avowed topic is poetry, Borges explores subjects ranging from prose forms (especially the novel), literary history, and translation theory to philosophical aspects of literature in particular and communication in general. Probably the best-read citizen of the globe in his day, he draws on a wealth of examples from literature in modern and medieval English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, and Chinese, speaking with characteristic eloquence on Plato, the Norse kenningar, Byron, Poe, Chesterton, Joyce, and Frost, as well as on translations of Homer, the Bible, and the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.

Whether discussing metaphor, epic poetry, the origins of verse, poetic meaning, or his own "poetic creed," Borges gives a performance as entertaining as it is intellectually engaging. A lesson in the love of literature and in the making of a unique literary sensibility, this is a sustained encounter with one of the writers by whom the twentieth century will be long remembered.


About Jorge Luis Borges

See more books from this Author
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. Calin-Andrei Mihailesu is Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, University of Western Ontario.
Published September 25, 2000 by Harvard University Press. 160 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for This Craft of Verse

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

For these investigations, Borges draws on a mind-boggling body of works, from Keats, Baudelaire, Plato, and Cervantes to Rafael Cansinos-Asséns, Omar Khayyám, Chuan Tzu, and Lucan, and from literary traditions as disparate as Norse mythology, the Kabbalah, and Indian philosophy.

| Read Full Review of This Craft of Verse (Charles ...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Although titles like ""The Riddle of Poetry,"" ""The Telling of the Tale,"" and ""Thought and Poetry,"" hold abstract promise, these are the sort of musings on literature that Borges carefully kept out of his diamondlike stories but allowed into much of his critical prose: wistful, retro, and sli...

| Read Full Review of This Craft of Verse (Charles ...

Reader Rating for This Craft of Verse

An aggregated and normalized score based on 14 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review