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For more lists, see this page. From the Review of Contemporary Fiction: The book takes place over the course of just one day—December 31, at some point during the late s—and it concerns a Chilean family who lives in an unfinished high-rise in Buenos Aires, where the patriarch and son earn their daily bread as construction men.

Ghosts is concerned with boundaries—what separates life from a dream, art from commerce, one year from the next, Argentina from Chile, a human from a ghost, an incomplete building from its surroundings—and as Aira plucks away at the lines of demarcation this playful cautionary tale comes to feel at times very real, and at others like a cosmicomic.

The Library of Babel - Wikipedia

From the Publishers Weekly: Now it is recognized as a seminal influence on Argentinian modernism. The protagonist, Remo Erdosain, is an inventor and a crank. Just know that Morel is a poetic evocation of the experience of love, an inquiry into how we know one another, and a still-relevant examination of how technology has changed our relationship with reality. Jorge Luis Borges has been called the greatest Spanish-language writer of our century. Together these incomparable works comprise the perfect one-volume compendium for all those who have long loved Borges.

From The Quarterly Conversation: Readers may read straight through the regular chapters ignoring the expendable ones or follow numbers left at the end of each chapter telling the reader which one to read next eventually taking her through all but one of the chapters.

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A reading of the book in that way would lead the reader thus: A twentysomething Buenos Aires couple, Rimini and Sofia, split up after 12 years together, sharing out friends, possessions and living arrangements. Borges, impressed with the "memorable" sentence, asks for its source. They check the book and are unable to find the said chapter, to Bioy's surprise.

The following day, Bioy tells Borges he has found the chapter they were looking for in a different reprint of the same encyclopedia. The chapter, although brief and full of names unfamiliar to Borges and Bioy, entices their curiosity. The engineer Herbert Ashe, an English friend of Borges' father with a peculiar interest in duodecimals , dies of an aneurysm rupture.

Borges inherits a packet containing a book, which was left by Ashe in a pub. The book contains two oval blue stamps with the words Orbis Tertius inscribed in blue. Their world is understood "not as a concurrence of objects in space, but as a heterogeneous series of independent acts. In a world where there are no nouns—or where nouns are composites of other parts of speech, created and discarded according to a whim—and no things , most of Western philosophy becomes impossible. Without nouns about which to state propositions, there can be no a priori deductive reasoning from first principles.

Without history, there can be no teleology showing a divine purpose playing itself out in the world. If there can be no such thing as observing the same object at different times, [3] there is no possibility of a posteriori inductive reasoning generalizing from experience. Ontology —the philosophy of what it means to be —is an alien concept. This infinitely mutable world is tempting to a playful intellect, and its "transparent tigers and In the anachronistic postscript set in , Borges remembers events that occurred in the last years.

It goes that a "benevolent secret society" was formed "one night in Lucerne or in London", in the 17th century, and had Berkeley among its members. That group, a society of intellectuals named Orbis Tertius , studied " hermetic studies , philanthropy and the cabala " an allusion to societies such as the Bavarian Illuminati , the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians , but its main purpose was to create a country: It gradually became clear that such work would have to be carried by numerous generations, so each master agreed to elect a disciple who would carry on his work to perpetuate an hereditary arrangement.

The society is eventually persecuted , but reemerges in the United States in the following century.

The American "eccentric" millionaire Ezra Buckley, one of the members of the restored sect, finds its undertaking too modest, proposing that their creation be of an entire world instead of just a country. Another instance is witnessed by Borges himself: It is suggested that these occurrences may have been forgeries, but yet products of a secret science and technology. The material becomes accessible worldwide and immensely influential on Earth's culture, science and languages.

  1. Planung einer Unterrichtsstunde zum Thema Weltreligionen: Unter Berücksichtigung des lerntheoretischen Ansatzes nach Dr. Heinrich Roth (German Edition).
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  3. Ten things to know before dating an Argentine.

Borges then turns to an obsession of his own: Through the vehicle of fantasy or speculative fiction , this story playfully explores several philosophical questions and themes. The story also contains several metaphors for the way ideas influence reality. Much of the story engages with the philosophical idealism of George Berkeley, who questioned whether it is possible to say that a thing exists if it is not being perceived.

Berkeley, a philosopher and, later, a bishop in the Protestant Church of Ireland, resolved that question to his own satisfaction by saying that the omnipresent perception of God ensures that objects continue to exist outside of personal or human perception. Berkeley's philosophy privileges perceptions over any notion of the "thing in itself. At the end of the main portion of the story, immediately before the postscript, Borges stretches this toward its logical breaking point by imagining that, "Occasionally a few birds, a horse perhaps, have saved the ruins of an amphitheater" by continuing to perceive it.

This is, effectively, a near-reconstruction of the Berkeleyan God: This story is not the only place where Borges engages with Berkeleyan idealism. Even the continuity of the individual self is open to question. They consider metaphysics a branch of fantastic literature," [10] he can be seen either as anticipating the extreme relativism that underlies some postmodernism or simply as taking a swipe at those who take metaphysics too seriously. This is similar to the ending of " Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote ", in which Borges's narrator suggests that a new perspective can be opened by treating a book as though it were written by a different author.

The story also plays with the theme of the love of books in general, and of encyclopedias and atlases in particular—books that are each themselves, in some sense, a world. Like many of Borges's works, the story challenges the boundaries between fiction and non-fiction. It mentions several quite real historical human beings himself, his friend Bioy Casares , Thomas de Quincey , et al.

The story begins and ends with issues of reflection, replication, and reproduction—both perfect and imperfect—and the related issue of the power of language and ideas to make or remake the world. Along the way we have stone mirrors; [13] the idea of reconstructing an entire encyclopedia of an imaginary world based on a single volume; [14] the analogy of that encyclopedia to a "cosmos" governed by "strict laws"; [3] a worldview in which our normal notions of "thing" are rejected, but "ideal objects abound, invoked and dissolved momentarily, according to poetic necessity"; [3] the universe conceived as "the handwriting of a minor god to communicate with a demon" or a "code system Borges also mentions in passing the duodecimal system as well as others , but never elaborates on the fact that this is inherently a refutation of the changeability of things due to nomenclature—a number may be renamed under a different counting schema, but the underlying value will always remain the same.

It is by no means simple to sort out fact and fiction within this story. The picture is further complicated by the fact that other authors both in print and on the web have chosen to join Borges in his game and write about one or another fictional aspect of this story either as if it were non-fiction or in a manner that could potentially confuse the unwary reader.

Beyond Borges: 5 Argentine Writers You Should Know

See, for example, the discussion below of the character Silas Haslam. There in fact exists an Anglo-American En cyclop e dia , which is a plagiarism, differently paginated, of the tenth edition of the Encyclopedia, and in which the 46th volume is TO T -UPS , ending on p. In the 11th edition of the Britannica , Borges's favorite, there is an article in between these on " Ur "; which may, in some sense, therefore be Uqbar.

Different articles in the 11th edition mention that Ur , as the name of a city, means simply " the city", and that Ur is also the aurochs , or the evil god of the Mandaeans.

Uqbar in the story is doubly fictional: The fictitious entry described in the story furnishes deliberately meager indications of Uqbar's location: The boundaries of Uqbar were described using equally nonexistent reference points; for instance, "the lowlands of Tsai Khaldun and the Axa Delta marked the southern frontier" see section Real and fictional place. This would suggest that the rivers of Borges' Uqbar should rise in highlands to the north; in fact, the mountainous highlands of eastern Turkey are where not one but two Zab Rivers rise, the Great Zab and the Lesser Zab.

They run a couple of hundred miles south into the Tigris.

The Library of Babel

The only points of Uqbar's history mentioned relate to religion, literature, and craft. It was described as the home of a noted heresiarch , and the scene of religious persecutions directed against the orthodox in the thirteenth century; fleeing the latter, its orthodox believers built obelisks in their southerly place of exile, and made mirrors — seen by the heresiarch as abominable — of stone. Although the culture of Uqbar described by Borges is fictional, there are two real places with similar names. Tsai Khaldun is undoubtedly a tribute to the great historian Ibn Khaldun , who lived in Andalusia for a while; his history focuses on North Africa and was probably a major source for Borges.