Borges, Between History and Eternity by Hernán Díaz

sjstuart's review against another edition

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challenging informative


A scholarly and analytical work that I'm not qualified to judge, except insofar as what I got out of it.

I am 100% one of the "context-deprived" Anglophone readers of Borges caricatured on the book blurb: enthralled by his self-referential short stories and mostly unaware of his poetry and essays. As such, I enjoyed the first part of the book. The detailed analysis of philosophical themes, linguistic tics, and metaphors showed me more of what I already knew I liked in Borges, while the historical, cultural, and political context helped me appreciate things I didn't know I was missing. This part of the book led me to re-read quite a few stories, and definitely deepened my appreciation for Borges.

The second half digs into the connections between Borges and Poe and Whitman. I got bogged down here, and didn't take away nearly as much that I found valuable.