Jorge Luis Borges

Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges (24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986), known as Jorge Luis Borges, was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. His work embraces the "character of unreality in all literature". His most famous books, Ficciones (1944) and The Aleph (1949), are compilations of short stories interconnected by common themes such as dreams, labyrinths, libraries, mirrors, animals, fictional writers, philosophy, religion and God.

Borges' works have contributed to philosophical literature and also to both the fantasy and magical realism genres. The genre of magical realism reacted against the dominant realism and naturalism of the nineteenth century. Critic Ángel Flores, the first to use the term, considers the beginning of the movement to be the release of Borges' A Universal History of Infamy (1935). Scholars have also suggested that Borges's progressive blindness helped him to create innovative literary symbols through imagination. His late poems dialogue with such cultural figures as Spinoza, Camões, and Virgil.

In 1914 his family moved to Switzerland, where he studied at the Collège de Genève. The family travelled widely in Europe, including stays in Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in surrealist literary journals. He also worked as a librarian and public lecturer. In 1955 he was appointed director of the National Public Library and professor of Literature at the University of Buenos Aires. In 1961 he came to international attention when he received the first ever Prix International, sharing the award with Samuel Beckett. In 1971 he won the Jerusalem Prize. His work was translated and published widely in the United States and in Europe. Borges himself was fluent in several languages. Borges dedicated his final work, The Conspirators, to the city of Geneva, Switzerland, and it was there, in 1986, that he chose to die.

His international fame was consolidated in the 1960s, aided by the "Latin American Boom" and the success of Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude. Writer and essayist J. M. Coetzee said of him: "He, more than anyone, renovated the language of fiction and thus opened the way to a remarkable generation of Spanish American novelists."

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