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Post-contemporary interventions

Signs of Borges

By
Sylvia Molloy
Sylvia Molloy

Sylvia Molloy, Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities at New York University, is the author of numerous books of criticism, including At Face Value: Autobiographical Writing in Spanish America, and a novel, Certificate of Absence. Oscar Montero is Associate Professor of Romance Languages, Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-9994-0
Publication date:
1994

Available for the first time in English, Signs of Borges is widely regarded as the best single book on the work of Jorge Luis Borges. With a critical sensibility informed by Barthes, Lacan, Foucault, Blanchot, and the entire body of Borges scholarship, Sylvia Molloy explores the problem of meaning in Borges's work by remaining true to the uncanniness that is its foundation.

Borges's sustained practice of the uncanny gives rise in his texts to endless tensions between illusion and meaning, and to the competing desires for fragmentation, dispersal, and stability. Molloy traces the movement of Borges's own writing by repeatedly spanning the boundaries of genre and cutting across the conventional separations of narrative, lyric and essay, fact and fiction. Rather than seeking to resolve the tensions and conflicts, she preserves and develops them, thereby maintaining the potential of these texts to disturb. At the site of these tensions, Molloy locates the play between meaning and meaninglessness that occurs in Borges's texts. From this vantage point his strategies of deception, recourse to simulacra, inquisitorial urge to unsettle binarism, and distrust of the permanent--all that makes Borges Borges--are examined with unmatched skill and acuity.

Elegantly written and translated, Signs of Borges presents a remarkable and dynamic view of one of the most international and compelling writers of this century. It will be of great interest to all students of twentieth-century literature, particularly to students of Latin American literature.

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