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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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Index 245


Index ‘Abenjacán el Bojarí, muerto en su labe- rinto’ [‘Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, Murdered in his Labyrinth’] deixis 93, 97, 102 identity 99–100, 101 labyrinth 94, 95–6, 100–1, 206 language 205 location 94, 101–2 metaphysics 94–5 Orientalism 97–8, 101 otherness 98–9 racism 98 abstraction 201 Affergan, Francis 27 agnosticism 9 Akhundov, Murad D. 20 ‘El Aleph’ [‘The Aleph’] 2 deixis 45–6 dichotomies 48–9 human understanding 43 identity 20 journeys 29, 31, 49 knowledge 31, 34 language 34, 44 location 126–7, 203 love 48 mathematical abstraction 47 memory 35, 36, 49, 203 mirrors 31, 38 place 35 quest 31 technology 28, 29 time 35, 46, 203 universe 38–40, 198 Álvarez, Nicolás Emilio 24 Amr Mosque, Cairo 31, 49 ‘The Analytical Language of John Wilkins’ see ‘El idioma analítico de John Wilkins’ Anderson, Benedict 17 architecture 197 Bachelard and 18–19 ‘El inmortal’ 76, 78, 202 ‘El Sur’ 119 ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ 184 Archytas 6 ‘The Argentine Writer and Tradition’ see ‘El escritor argentino y la tradición’ art, works of 21–2 artistic creation 138, 150, 164 autochthony Martín Fierro (Hernández) 129 ‘El muerto’ 136 ‘La noche que en el Sur lo velaron’ 113 ‘El Sur’ 110, 122 Avestan language 227n2 Bachelard, Gaston: The Poetics of Space 18–19 Bakhtin, Mikhail 21–2, 106, 107 Balderston, Daniel 4, 24, 91, 224nn8, 10, 225n15 Barrenechea, Ana María: Borges the Labyrinth Maker 24 Berkeley, George 7,...

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