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Borges and Space


Bill Richardson

This book examines the relevance of the concepts of space and place to the work of Jorge Luis Borges. The core of the book is a series of readings of key Borges texts viewed from the perspective of human spatiality. Issues that arise include the dichotomy between ‘lived space’ and abstract mapping, the relevance of a ‘sense of place’ to Borges’s work, the impact of place on identity, the importance of context to our sense of who we are, the role played by space and place in the exercise of power, and the ways in which certain of Borges’s stories invite us to reflect on our ‘place in the universe’. In the course of this discussion, crucial questions about the interpretation of the Argentine author’s work are addressed and some important issues that have largely been overlooked are considered. The book begins by outlining cross-disciplinary discussions of space and place and their impact on the study of literature and concludes with a theoretical reflection on approaches to the issue of space in Borges, extrapolating points of relevance to the theme of literary spatiality generally.


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Acknowledgements ix


Acknowledgements For financial assistance and other support, thanks to my home university, the National University of Ireland Galway. The James Hardiman Library Special Research Fund supported the purchase of relevant material, while the NUI Galway Millennium Fund assisted with travel and the cost of publication. In Buenos Aires, Maximiliano Maito at the Fundación San Telmo generously gave me access to several of Borges’s manuscripts and books. Many other manuscripts and a range of other items of interest are on dis- play at the Fundación Internacional Jorge Luis Borges, whose staf f were also extremely helpful. Delightful dialogues with Ignacio Navarro, Tristán Casnati and Daniela Berchessi helped elucidate meanings, as did email exchanges with Antonio Giunta – not to mention Coole conversations with Dan Balderston, and initial inductions from Seamus Deane and Manolo Ferrer. The ideal academic department is like a family where siblings are quick to criticise and even quicker to give unstinting support when you need it. I have had that support from my colleagues in Spanish at NUI Galway, and I thank them for it: Pilar, Karen, Mel, Diarmuid, Lorraine, Kate, Begoña and Lorna. A version of some of the material in Chapter 5 was published as an article entitled ‘Spatial Concepts in Borges’s Stories’ in Variaciones Borges, no. 30, in 2010. Other parts of the book relate to material presented in conference papers and guest lectures delivered over the last few years; I am grateful to those who of fered their views on those...

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