FICCIONES by Jorge-Luis Borges


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This will appear almost simultaneously with the New Directions presentation of the Argentinian avant-garde writer, Labyrinths (page 277), and one can question whether there will be an available audience for two collections of this kind. This consists in its first part (1941) of eight fictional pieces, and in the second part (1944) of nine pieces called ""Artifices"". Both sections are preceded by short prologues by Borges himself, and the volume ends with an introduction by Anthony Kerrigan, the translator. This Alice-in-Wonderland arrangement is quite in keeping with the contents. Kerrigan says ""Philosophy, comparative philologies, archaeology, everything has been progressing, evolving, breaking new ground. But we know as little as ever why we are born each morning."" Readers avid for the kind of cosmopolitan nihilism that Borge represents may prefer the New Directions volume. The most important items are duplicated in both collections, but the New Directions edition gives more pieces, seems to edit more ably, and has used Andre Maurois in a brilliant Preface. Where the selections are repeated, they are identical except for slight verbal variations. Ficciones does contain 3 or 4 short pieces which do not appear in Labyrinths. One of these, The South, Kerrigan says is Borges' favorite story- ""a man must pick up a knife (is he dreaming?) and go out into the brainless night to face bestiality. Why? He does not know. All our Knowledge has led us exactly to this point, where we started endless ages ago."" In any case, in spite of the duplication, a special and limited market.

ISBN: 0061565377
Publisher: Grove