A Personal Anthology by Jorge Luis Borges

By Jorge Luis Borges

After virtually a part a century of scrupulous devotion to his paintings, Jorge Luis Borges individually compiled this anthology of his work—short tales, essays, poems, and short mordant “sketches," which, in Borges's palms, tackle the scale of a style detailed in sleek letters.
In this anthology, the writer has prepare these items on which he would prefer his attractiveness to leisure; they don't seem to be prepared chronologically, yet with an eye fixed to their “sympathies and differences." a private Anthology, accordingly, isn't in basic terms a suite, yet a brand new composition.

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March– June: publication of Les Misérables (novel), written – and –.  April: publication of William Shakespeare (literary criticism).  October: Charles Hugo marries Alice Lehaene.  October: publication of Songs of Street and Wood (Les Chansons des rues et des bois, verse), written  and .  March: publication of The Toilers of the Sea (Les Travailleurs de la mer, novel).  August: birth of Charles’s son Georges.  August: death of Adèle I.  April– May: publication of The Laughing Man (L’Homme qui rit, novel).

Thus we find the spirit of melancholy and meditation and the demon of analysis and controversy appearing together–– virtually arm in arm. Longinus marks one end of this transitional age, Augustine* marks the other. We mustn’t eye the period too scornfully; it was the seedbed of everything that has come to fruition since, and (allow me to use a banal but expressive image) its second-rate writers made it a dunghill to fertilize the future harvest. The Middle Ages were grown from the Byzantine empire.

And what’s more, Boileau. ’ These are, no doubt, significant arguments (their most notable merit being their originality). But I don’t have any obligation to answer them. I’m not erecting any system here–– God preserve us from systems! I’m simply stating a fact. I’m writing history, not criticism. Like it or not, this is the way things are. To return to the point, then, let’s try to show that this fertile union of the grotesque with the sublime has been the origin of the modern spirit–– so complex, so varied in form, so infinite in its creations (in striking contrast to the uniform simplicity of the ancient spirit); this must be our point of departure, if we are to describe the real and radical difference between the two systems.

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A Personal Anthology by Jorge Luis Borges
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