by Jorge Luis Borges,
Magical realism/Short stories
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Today, I’ll share my thoughts on the last two stories:
The Sect of the Phoenix
This is about a sect, its origin, its name, and its secret rites. This could possibly refer to sex. But in the background is a reflection on the sad disappearance of mysteries, as sacred mysteries in the world.
In the Prologue to the second part of the book, Borges says this is his favorite story.
A man leaves the sanatorium, on his way to the South, he meets a couple of people, and his death. I guess the main jest of this one escaped me. I rea there could be some autobiographical element, as Borges was very close to death after severe septicemia.
As a conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with its various ways of considering time, history, and the universe, through for instance the images of mirrors and labyrinths. And the use of metafiction (with real and fictional books and authors) as a tool for that as well, through a diversity of possible interpretations.
All this is actually connected with idealism, which I really didn’t talk much about when exploring the stories. With the ideal/idea-l world superior to the material one.
It’s really fun to approach metaphysics through fiction. And only a brilliant brain like Borges’s can do this is a satisfying way.
To go more in depth, check the Course Hero page on this book.
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT,
OR OF THIS STORY?
Thanks for your posts about Borges’s stories. It’s been a while since I’ve read his stuff, so your responses to his stories have been enjoyable and bring me back to the pleasure (and sometimes bafflement) that I felt while reading them.
You are welcome. Thanks for your visits and comments
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You’ve persuaded me to add this to my Classics Club list!
I’ve long wanted to dip my toe into Borges’ work. Maybe short stories are the best approach? I have read other authors who reference him (thinking for example of The Name of the Rose by Eco) and want to be in on the secret!
He did write a lot of short stories. Definitely same type of brilliant mind as Umberto Eco’s.
The Book of Imaginary Beings is another of Borges’ works that an interesting and fun read.
Thanks so much, I will check it out at my library. I also want to reread The Aleph
Hi Emma, I enjoyed catching up with your posts on Borges. I am working my way through reviewing each story in his Collected Fictions right now, but much slower than you – I think it’ll take me years to finish 🙂 Wishing you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2022!
Oh wow, I had forgotten you were in that project, good for you! I have only reviewed those in Ficciones, so that’s just a few, not 101! I do plan to reread The Aleph, as I remember enjoying it a lot in my teens.
Happy New Year to you too!
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I read Labyrinths by Borges and didn’t do well with it. For a fantasy reader, I sure do struggle with magical realism. I’m glad you liked these stories.
Well, he is a complex author for sure