Chapter 4 - Identity 109
Chapter 4 Identity ‘Place’ places man in such a way that it reveals the external bounds of his existence and at the same time the depths of his freedom and reality. — Martin Heidegger1 Heidegger’s point about the significance of ‘place’ for human beings high- lights the relevance of spatial locations in terms that connect our awareness of the transience of life with an ability to ref lect self-consciously on the fact of our location. In this chapter we examine how, in Borges, identity is seen as both transcending place and as being contingent on it. We are where we are – in the South The Borges-f lâneur of Fervor de Buenos Aires, discussed in Chapter 2, articulates in those poems an intimate engagement with his native city, evoking its atmosphere and using its squares, streets and districts as a sounding-board for his own sense of the mysteries of life and death. The poetic voice addresses dif ferent parts and elements of the city, creating an implicit dialogue, in which, in a strange sort of quietude, they appear to give back to the poet hints and suggestions about who he is and how he might define himself and the parameters within which he is living. The verses relate, in other words, the self and the concrete circumstances in which the self exists. They are at one and the same time an acknowledgement of 110 Chapter 4 the significance of place and spatial location in the life of the individual and an...
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