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The enigmas of Borges, and the enigma of Borges

Gyngell, Peter 2012. The enigmas of Borges, and the enigma of Borges. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Abstract

The 'enigmas' dealt with in Part 1 (Chapters 1-4) are illusory, arising largely from the apparent inability of many of his critics to understand much of Borges' work. However, the discussion of his widely appreciated wit in Chapter 1 shows that this is sometimes the fault of Borges himself. He once proclaimed his intention to conceal the true nature of some of his fictions so that only 'a very few' of his readers should understand them. Fortunately, his attempts at concealment were not always successful; but some of his critics seem to have been misled by them. Chapters 2-4 deal with characteristics that appear to be less widely appreciated. Chapter 2 discusses the importance of Borges' obsession with death; chapter 3 deals with what he called 'the most precious gift, doubt'; and chapter 4 illustrates Borges' humility and his aversion to arrogance; but all three chapters demonstrate that Borges' critics have often failed to acknowledge these characteristics. Chapters 2 and 3 show that many of his poems make clear the importance of some of these factors. Borges regarded himself primarily as a poet, and published many more books of poetry than prose; however, comparatively little attention has been paid to this aspect of his work. Part 2 of the thesis (chapters 5 and 6) deals with the enigma which Borges himself presents. This is no illusion. It stems mainly from some of his seminars, lectures and non-fictional pieces, which are shown to be rife with inaccuracies, contradictions, and poor preparation. They raise many questions about the depth of Borges' learning, and about his academic rigour. Part 1 suggests answers, while Part 2 despairs of answers. A number of the quoted texts were published originally in English; I have no Spanish, and the remaining texts are quoted in translation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:46
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/26442

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