August 5, 2009 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Jorge Luis Borges: The Mirror Man "This program examines the life and literary career of the charismatic Argentine writer, as well as the thematic, symbolic, and mythological underpinnings of his works. Archival interviews with Borges; his mother, Leonor Acevedo de Borges; his second wife, Maria Kodama; and collaborator Adolfo Bioy Casares provide insights into the private Borges, while readings from The Mirrors, Dreamtigers, The Plot, The South, The Aleph, and other landmarks of Latin American fiction demonstrate his virtuosity as a transformer of experiences." (ubuweb)
posted by vronsky (27 comments total) 66 users marked this as a favorite
yes, thank you!
posted by nosila at 4:20 PM on August 5, 2009

Here it is as a playlist. I think that link will work; I'm sure someone will kindly let me know if it doesn't.
posted by nosila at 4:24 PM on August 5, 2009

Awesome, thanks!
posted by Falconetti at 4:25 PM on August 5, 2009

yes thanks!
posted by fuzzypantalones at 4:26 PM on August 5, 2009

I will have to take time to watch this. Thanks!
posted by blucevalo at 5:21 PM on August 5, 2009

My first exposure to JLB was reading Manguel's 'A History of Reading'. excellent book, Manguel used to read to Borges after the writer became blind. Manguel is credited as the writer for this film. Well worth a read.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:29 PM on August 5, 2009

posted by Wolof at 5:36 PM on August 5, 2009

oh man i can't wait to watch this later tonight.
posted by empath at 5:40 PM on August 5, 2009

I think that link will work; I'm sure someone will kindly let me know if it doesn't.

It does not work, but I appreciate the effort. And very much appreciate the post in the first place. (A previous post in the blue led us to other recordings of this wonderful Argentine writer lecturing at Harvard.)
posted by LeLiLo at 5:40 PM on August 5, 2009

Very nice, thanks very much vronsky!
posted by carter at 5:46 PM on August 5, 2009

To a Cat
by Jorge Luis Borges

Mirrors are not more silent
nor the creeping dawn more secretive;
in the moonlight, you are that panther
we catch sight of from afar.
By the inexplicable workings of a divine law,
we look for you in vain;
More remote, even, than the Ganges or the setting sun,
yours is the solitude, yours the secret.
Your haunch allows the lingering
caress of my hand. You have accepted,
since that long forgotten past,
the love of the distrustful hand.
You belong to another time. You are lord
of a place bounded like a dream.
posted by ageispolis at 5:46 PM on August 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

awesome! Borges RULES!
posted by frankbooth at 5:51 PM on August 5, 2009

Try this one: playlist
posted by nosila at 6:04 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I approve of this post.
posted by borges at 6:19 PM on August 5, 2009

do want
posted by jimfl at 7:06 PM on August 5, 2009

The documentary actually touches on this a little bit, but I'm always surprised by how little that knowing the biography of the artist actually improves understanding of their work. I wanted more of his work, and people talking about his work, less about the politics and his blindness, his work history and the awards.
posted by empath at 9:52 PM on August 5, 2009

They could have spent an hour talking about just ONE of his stories, and it probably would have been time better spent. Still, I appreciate it for what it is. (Now I'm off to search itunes U for Borges lectures)
posted by empath at 9:55 PM on August 5, 2009

A sampling of some of my favorite Borges, for those that haven't read him

They're short, read them!

(Hover over the links for pull-quotes, they're kind of spoiler-ish, but not really)

The Aleph

Funes, The Memorious

The Babylon Lottery

Library of Babel
posted by empath at 10:10 PM on August 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm glad I took AP Spanish Literature even though the test was bewildering and difficult. I didn't study much for that, but the literature we read really opened up my eyes beyond American literature. Thanks for the link! I'll send it to my Spanish teacher.
posted by mmmleaf at 12:36 AM on August 6, 2009

A favorite Borges for me is The Zahir, another story about Funes who is able to remember everything he's even seen, everything except one insignificant item, which comes to obsess him.
posted by JHarris at 2:42 AM on August 6, 2009

As an unapologetic NERD, I have this on my reading list. (Although not on the Kindle, *cough*)
posted by DU at 6:13 AM on August 6, 2009

I dream of one day being able to read Borges in Spanish (not to mention other Spanish-language writers). I've never acquired that level of fluency in Spanish, but that is one of my goals.
posted by blucevalo at 6:58 AM on August 6, 2009

Fantastic find. Thanks. Also, this is a great lecture series that Borges did in his later years. He was nearly blind at the time and lectured from memory.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:34 AM on August 6, 2009

Absolutely great. However, I can't help feeling that the way JLB and other persons' voices are overdubbed in the documentary is dreadful.
posted by nicolin at 10:16 AM on August 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I <3 Borges. Self-link to Borges song: The Garden of Forking Paths.

I think The Secret Miracle might be my fave. I also love Funes, and Babylon, and Tlon, and The Theologians, and pretty much all of Dreamtigers, and the ones where he meets a younger or older version of himself.
"...My good intentions hadn't lasted beyond the first pages; those that followed held the labyrinths, the knives, the man who thinks he's an image, the reflection that thinks it's real, the tiger that stalks in the night, the battles that are in one's blood, the blind and fatal Juan Maraña, the voice of Macedonio Fernandez, the ship made with the fingernails of the dead, Old English repeated in the evening."

"That museum rings a bell," I remarked sarcastically.

"Not to mention false recollections, the doubleness of symbols, the long catalogs, the skilled handling of prosaic reality, the imperfect symmetries that critics so jubilantly discover, the not always apocryphal quotations."

"Did you publish it?"

"I toyed, without conviction, with the melodramatic possibility of destroying the book, perhaps by fire. But I wound up publishing it in Madrid, under a pseudonym. I was taken for a clumsy imitator of Borges -- a person who had the defect of not actually being Borges yet of mirroring all the outward appearances of the original."
posted by ludwig_van at 11:49 AM on August 6, 2009

From an essay titled "A Comment on August 23, 1944" --

"For Europeans and Americans, one order and only one is possible; it used to be called Rome, and now it is called Western Culture. To be a Nazi (to play the energetic barbarian, Viking, Tartar, sixteenth-century conquistador, gaucho, or Indian) is, after all, mentally and morally impossible. Nazism suffers from unreality, like [John Scotus] Erigena's hell. It is uninhabitable; men can only die for it, lie for it, wound or kill for it. No one, in the intimate depths of his being, can wish it to triumph. I shall risk this conjecture: Hitler wants to be defeated. Hitler is blindly collaborating with the inevitable armies that will annihilate him, as the metal vultures and the dragon (which must have known that they were monsters) collaborated, mysteriously, with Hercules."

more here

Also I have been wondering about the flood of second rate translations of Borges that have come out recently. Googling his second wife Maria Kodama last night I seem to have found the answer.

"Kodama, with control over the Borges estate, renegotiated the English translation ownership of Borges' complete Spanish library, selling the rights and deeming Borges' collaborative work with Norman Thomas di Giovanni unpublishable. This action served both to eliminate the 50/50 monetary agreement between Borges and di Giovanni for their original English translation profits, and to create a new set of Borges translations that would provide Kodama with 100% of the royalties from English translations."
posted by vronsky at 12:38 PM on August 6, 2009

Borges and I
posted by Meatbomb at 2:08 PM on August 6, 2009

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