Grandpa Lous Ode to Pop Culture
They were all feeling sorry for themselves and wanted me to feel sorry for them as well. Almost immediately, the spoils system was the rule of the day, as ideological critics of the ruling Partido Justicialista were fired from government jobs. Upon demanding to know the reason, Borges was told, "Well, you were on the side of the Allies, what do you expect?
At the dinner, a speech was read which Borges had written for the occasion.
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It said:. Dictatorships breed oppression, dictatorships breed servility, dictatorships breed cruelty; more loathsome still is the fact that they breed idiocy. Bellboys babbling orders, portraits of caudillos , prearranged cheers or insults, walls covered with names, unanimous ceremonies, mere discipline usurping the place of clear thinking Fighting these sad monotonies is one of the duties of a writer.
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In the aftermath, Borges found himself much in demand as a lecturer and one of the intellectual leaders of the Argentine opposition. Borges, then suffering from depression caused by a failed romance, reluctantly accepted. Borges later recalled, however, "Many distinguished men of letters did not dare set foot inside its doors.
SADE official Luisa Mercedes Levinson noted, "We would gather every week to tell the latest jokes about the ruling couple and even dared to sing the songs of the French Resistance , as well as ' La Marseillaise '". Borges indignantly refused, calling it a ridiculous demand. The policemen replied that he would soon face the consequences. According to Edwin Williamson,. Borges had agreed to stand for the presidency of the SADE in order [to] fight for intellectual freedom, but he also wanted to avenge the humiliation he believed he had suffered in , when the Peronists had proposed to make him an inspector of chickens.
In his letter of to Attilio Rossi , he claimed that his infamous promotion had been a clever way the Peronists had found of damaging him and diminishing his reputation. It was impossible for Borges, as president, to hold the usual reception for the distinguished visitor; instead, one of Borges' friends brought a lamb from his ranch, and they had it roasted at a tavern across the road from the SADE building on Calle Mexico.
Borges was overjoyed and joined demonstrators marching through the streets of Buenos Aires. According to Williamson, Borges shouted, "Viva la Patria", until his voice grew hoarse. Due to the influence of Borges' mother and his own role on the opposition to Peron, the provisional government appointed Borges as the Director of the National Library. The first he described as "the criminal one", composed of the police state tactics used against both real and imagined anti-Peronists.
The second history was, according to Borges, "the theatrical one" composed of "tales and fables made for consumption by dolts.
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Borges concluded:. It is useless to list the examples; one can only denounce the duplicity of the fictions of the former regime, which can't be believed and were believed.
It will be said that the public's lack of sophistication is enough to explain the contradiction; I believe that the cause is more profound. Coleridge spoke of the "willing suspension of disbelief ," that is, poetic faith; Samuel Johnson said, in defense of Shakespeare, that the spectators at a tragedy do not believe they are in Alexandria in the first act and Rome in the second but submit to the pleasure of a fiction. Similarly, the lies of a dictatorship are neither believed nor disbelieved; they pertain to an intermediate plane, and their purpose is to conceal or justify sordid or atrocious realities.
They pertain to the pathetic or the clumsily sentimental. Happily, for the enlightenment and security of the Argentines, the current regime has understood that the function of government is not to inspire pathos. I mean, he had people tortured, killed. And his wife was a common prostitute. In a interview for National Geographic , he said "Damn, the snobs are back in the saddle. If their posters and slogans again defile the city, I'll be glad I've lost my sight. Well, they can't humiliate me as they did before my books sold well.
For a time, Argentines hesitated to wear band aids for fear friends would ask, 'Did the atomic bomb go off in your hand? After Borges' death in , the Peronist Partido Justicialista declined to send a delegate to the writer's memorial service in Buenos Aires. A spokesman for the Party said that this was in reaction to "certain declarations he had made about the country.
During the s, Borges at first expressed support for Argentina's military junta , but was scandalized by the junta's actions during the Dirty War. He also said about the war: "The Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb. Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort argue that Borges "may have been the most important figure in Spanish-language literature since Cervantes.
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He was clearly of tremendous influence, writing intricate poems, short stories, and essays that instantiated concepts of dizzying power. In addition to short stories for which he is most noted, Borges also wrote poetry, essays, screenplays, literary criticism, and edited numerous anthologies. His longest work of fiction is a fourteen-page story, "The Congress", first published in Paramount among his intellectual interests are elements of mythology, mathematics, theology, integrating these through literature, sometimes playfully, sometimes with great seriousness.
Borges composed poetry throughout his life. As his eyesight waned it came and went, with a struggle between advancing age and advances in eye surgery , he increasingly focused on writing poetry, since he could memorize an entire work in progress. His poems embrace the same wide range of interests as his fiction, along with issues that emerge in his critical works and translations, and from more personal musings.
Borges was a notable translator. Borges's best-known set of literary forgeries date from his early work as a translator and literary critic with a regular column in the Argentine magazine El Hogar.
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Along with publishing numerous legitimate translations, he also published original works, for example, in the style of Emanuel Swedenborg [Note 6] or One Thousand and One Nights , originally claiming them to be translations of works he had chanced upon. In another case, he added three short, falsely attributed pieces into his otherwise legitimate and carefully researched anthology El matrero.
While Borges was the great popularizer of the review of an imaginary work, he had developed the idea from Thomas Carlyle 's Sartor Resartus , a book-length review of a non-existent German transcendentalist work, and the biography of its equally non-existent author. I read Sartor Resartus , and I can recall many of its pages; I know them by heart. In the introduction to his first published volume of fiction, The Garden of Forking Paths , Borges remarks, "It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books, setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes.
The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary, a commentary on them. A more reasonable, more inept, and more lazy man, I have chosen to write notes on imaginary books. On the other hand, Borges was wrongly attributed some works, like the poem "Instantes".
In the post-Peronist Argentina of the early s, Contorno met with wide approval from the youth who challenged the authenticity of older writers such as Borges and questioned their legacy of experimentation. Magic realism and exploration of universal truths, they argued, had come at the cost of responsibility and seriousness in the face of society's problems. The Contorno writers acknowledged Borges and Eduardo Mallea for being "doctors of technique" but argued that their work lacked substance due to their lack of interaction with the reality that they inhabited, an existentialist critique of their refusal to embrace existence and reality in their artwork.
The story " The Sect of the Phoenix " is famously interpreted to allude to the ubiquity of sexual intercourse among humans  — a concept whose essential qualities the narrator of the story is not able to relate to. With a few notable exceptions, women are almost entirely absent from Borges' fiction. However, there are some instances in Borges' later writings of romantic love, for example the story " Ulrikke " from The Book of Sand.
The protagonist of the story "El muerto" also lusts after the "splendid, contemptuous, red-haired woman" of Azevedo Bandeira  and later "sleeps with the woman with shining hair". Borges turned their fictional counterparts into brothers, excluding the possibility of a homosexual relationship. Borges was never awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature , something which continually distressed the writer. Some observers speculated that Borges did not receive the award in his later life because of his conservative political views, or, more specifically, because he had accepted an honour from Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Borges was nominated in , and was among the final three choices considered by the committee, according to Nobel records unsealed on the 50th anniversary, in Williamson writes, "His basic contention was that fiction did not depend on the illusion of reality; what mattered ultimately was an author's ability to generate "poetic faith" in his reader. His stories often have fantastical themes, such as a library containing every possible page text " The Library of Babel " , a man who forgets nothing he experiences " Funes, the Memorious " , an artifact through which the user can see everything in the universe "The Aleph" , and a year of still time given to a man standing before a firing squad "The Secret Miracle".
Borges told realistic stories of South American life, of folk heroes, streetfighters, soldiers, gauchos , detectives, and historical figures. He mixed the real and the fantastic, fact with fiction. His interest in compounding fantasy, philosophy, and the art of translation are evident in articles such as "The Translators of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights ". In the Book of Imaginary Beings , a thoroughly researched bestiary of mythical creatures, Borges wrote, "There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition.
Often, especially early in his career, the mixture of fact and fantasy crossed the line into the realm of hoax or literary forgery. Borges uses the recurring image of "a labyrinth that folds back upon itself in infinite regression" so we "become aware of all the possible choices we might make. Borges saw man's search for meaning in a seemingly infinite universe as fruitless and instead uses the maze as a riddle for time, not space.
Due to the success of the "Forking Paths" story, the term "Borgesian" came to reflect a quality of narrative non-linearity. The philosophical term "Borgesian conundrum" is named after him and has been defined as the ontological question of "whether the writer writes the story, or it writes him. After reviewing works that were written before those of Kafka, Borges wrote:. If I am not mistaken, the heterogeneous pieces I have enumerated resemble Kafka; if I am not mistaken, not all of them resemble each other.
The second fact is the more significant. In each of these texts we find Kafka's idiosyncrasy to a greater or lesser degree, but if Kafka had never written a line, we would not perceive this quality; in other words, it would not exist. The poem "Fears and Scruples" by Browning foretells Kafka's work, but our reading of Kafka perceptibly sharpens and deflects our reading of the poem. Browning did not read it as we do now.