Borges, between history and eternity by Borges, Jorge Luis; Borges, Jorge Luis / / Criticism and

By Borges, Jorge Luis; Borges, Jorge Luis / / Criticism and interpretation; Díaz, Hernán M.; Borges, Jorge Luis

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In this sense, many of Borges’s classic allegories, like the map of an empire whose size is that of the empire, or the chessman moved by a hand moved by god moved by a god behind god, are not mere abstractions but rather reflections on how power may manipulate our perception of the world and condition our interaction with it. Conversely, his more overtly political texts tend to be sustained by a particular take on metaphysics. A good example (analyzed in detail in this book) is his political poetry.

Second, it made the lottery secret, free or charge, and open. . Every free man automatically took part in the sacred drawings” (CF 103) [“logró que la compañía aceptara la suma del poder público. . En segundo término, logró que la lotería fuera secreta, gratuita y general. . Todo hombre libre automáticamente participaba en los sorteos sagrados” (OC 458)]. The Company, clearly a subsection of Babylonian society, takes over the entirety of public and private life. What was once, in a strict sense, partial (some people bought lottery tickets, others did not) becomes universal (“every free man automatically participated in the sacred drawings”).

This tension between everyone and no one is one of Borges’s favorite aporias (a paradox he took, as we will see, from Whitman). 17 Throughout his poems, essays, and fictions, Borges explores this oscillation from nothingness to totality and back. In fact, this tension can already be found in what could be considered his second short story—a review of a nonexistent book included in a collection of essays published in 1936. Buried in a footnote at the end of the text is a gloss of a poem by Attar of Nishapur.

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