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Thursday, August 25, 2011

#21 - Borges – the master

Just wanted to mention something that has nothing to do with gas analyzers.


Most people using the internet yesterday probably noticed the interesting Google Doodle depicting an older gentleman in a library looking out over a panorama reminiscent of M.C. Escher.

The Doodle pays tribute to Argentinean author Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986). The older gentleman in the picture is no doubt intended to represent Borges himself. For a time, he was the director of the National Library of Argentina. However, his greatest work involved his stories and ideas which are represented by the panorama.

His works often include common themes such as dreams, labyrinths, libraries, fictional writers, history, religion, and God. He questions reality, human perception, and even the truth of his own accounts. But in all cases, he is original in a way that only Borges can be. "Borgesian" is now a frequently-used adjective used to describe writers and artists who emulate Borges' style to some degree.

A while back, Sam at Relayer Solutions (http://www.relayersolutions.com/index.html) sent me a collection of Borges’ works called Labyrinths.

André Maurois (1885–1967), author and member of the French Academy, wrote a preface to Labyrinths. He begins as follows:

“Jorge Luis Borges is a great writer who has composed only little essays or short narratives. Yet they suffice for us to call him great because of their wonderful intelligence, their wealth of invention, and their tight, almost mathematical style.”

This statement perfectly summarizes my own opinion and esteem of Borges' work.

I have reread portions of Labyrinths many times over the years. Seeing this Google Doodle reminds me that it’s probably about time to return again for a walk in the Garden or to the Library, or maybe to Tlön.


For readers, this link is interesting:
http://www.themodernword.com/borges/borges_influence.html

See also:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/aug/24/jorge-luis-borges-google-doodle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Luis_Borges



Left picture:
Jorge Luis Borges 1951
Source http://www.me.gov.ar/efeme/jlborges/1951-1960.html
Photo: Grete Stern (1904-1999)
Public domain photograph

Right picture:
Jorge Luis Borges 1969
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jorge_Luis_Borges_Hotel.jpg
Photo: José María Pepe Fernández
Public domain photograph

Doodle © Google, August 24, 2011

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