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Jorge Borges

The total library

You probably know Jorge Luis Borges best for his short stories such as 'The Library of Babel', but he also wrote plenty of non-fiction. The Total Library: Non-Fiction 1922-1986 is a collection of his essays.

The topics of the essays range widely. There are a few essays on the reaction of Argentinians to the Nazi party and the Second world war, there's a history of the tango and and essay on personality and Buddhism. Most of the essays, though, are literary criticism of one form or another with plenty of book reviews, and a number of essays on Dante's Divine Comedy. Borges other favourite subject is time and eternity - 'I tend to return eternally to the Eternal Return'.

Reading this book, one begins to see the infinite work of the literary scholar - not just analysing literary works, but analysing the analysis of previous scholars. Other writers might try to impress the reader with the depth of their knowledge, but Borges never tries to do this. Rather he searches out the unusual - the things that don't wuite fit - and so manages to produce very readable essays on topics which would otherwise be thought of as difficult and abstruse. Highly recommended.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews