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 JORGE LUIS BORGES (1899-1986)

"I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities that I have visited, all my ancestors."
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Taught at home, by his parents; attended school in Geneva.

Other jobs
Librarian (fittingly enough), academic

Did you know?
He honed his literary skills writing yoghurt adverts.

Critical verdict
Borges became a myth in his own lifetime for his mythic riddlings, but never, to the fury of his followers, received the ultimate prize - "Not granting me the Nobel Prize has become a Scandinavian tradition; since I was born they have not been granting it to me."

Recommended works
Labyrinths, a collection of some of his most dazzling stories, is an excellent starting point; a new Collected Works appeared in 1999.

His great loves included Verlaine, Rimbaud, Mallarm¿Schopenhauer and Walt Whitman.

Now read on
Italo Calvino, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Umberto Eco, Salman Rushdie

Several of his short stories have been filmed; the most recent, and well-received, is Death and the Compass (1996), dir. Alex (Repo Man) Cox.

Recommended biography
James Woodall's Borges: A Life is a well-researched guide to the man and his work, and provides political background.


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