FL 380: An Archaeology of the "Boom":
Modern Latin American Prose Fiction
- Guide to Borges #1
Borges and I
- p.246 "The other one..." - Who is writing here?
Who is the narrator?
- " " Who is "the one called Borges"?
Who calls him so? Why?
- " " Where does the "I" get his data on Borges?
Where does Borges exist? How?
- " " what do both of them like?
What is different in their way of liking these things?
Is it really different?
- " " What sort of relationship does the "I" pose
between itself and Borges?
What is the nature of this symbiosis?
Can you relate to this as a person existing in many different contexts?
- " " "what is good belongs to no one, not even to him.":-
What does the "I" mean by this?
What can be implied about the relationship of the author and her/his writing?
To whom to those "valid pages" belong to?
- " " How is the "I" "giving over everything"
- " " What is Borges' "perverse custom"?
Why is it perverse?
- " " "I recognize myself less in his books than in many
What are the implications of this assertion?
- p.247 Why is the "I"'s life a flight?
Why does it fly away? From what?
- " " How can everything belong to oblivion?
How can everything belong to "him"?
- " " "I do not know...":- How does this last phrase
change the reading of this text? Does it? How will it affect whatever else
you read by Borges or other writers?
The Theme of The Traitor and The Hero
- p.72 Is this a story or a story plot?
What does the narrator have to say about this?
Why or how does the story plot justify the narrator?
A. Chesterton (1874-1936) English writer
B. Leibnitz (1646-1716) German philosopher
- " " Why are "details, rectifications, adjustments"
lacking at this time?
- " " Where could the story take place?
Where does it take place?
Has it already taken place?
Is it then a story plot or a (Hi)story plot?
- p.73 Why is Kilpatrick like Moses?
Can such a comparison be drawn?
Was Moses also "young, heroic, beautiful, and assassinated"?
If so, by whom?
A. Browning (1812-1899) English poet
B. Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
- " " How are some facets of the enigma of Kilpatrick's death
of a "cyclic nature"?
- " " What does Ryan come to suppose?
Can time repeat itself? How?
- " " What "labyrinth" is Ryan rescued from? How?
In what other labyrinth is he plunged? How?
A. Condorcet (1743-1794) French philospher
B. Hegel (1770-1831) German philosopher
C. Spengler (1880-1936) German philosopher
D. Vico (1668-1744) Italian philosopher
E. Hesiod (8th century BC) Greek poet
- " " What verb would you have chosen instead of "prefigured"
in the following phrase?:
"certain words uttered by a beggar . . . were prefigured by Shakespeare
in the tragedy Macbeth".
- p.74 Can History copy Literature?
Why would that be inconceivable? Is it that inconceivable?
- " " What does Ryan discover about James Alexander Nolan?
- " " In what way was the city a theater?
Is not the city always so?
- " " Is it not odd that Fergus Kilpatrick would charge Nolan
with the task of discovering that he himself was the traitor?
What end would that serve?
Are there any other tales like this in literature?
- Borges wrote a story called: Three versions of Judas. Read it!
- " " What were the basic tenets of Nolan's plan?
- p.75 Who did Nolan had to plagiarize?
Why is that ironic? Is it really so?
Is it really plagiarism?
- " " "The condemned man entered Dublin, discussed, acted,
prayed, reproved, uttered words of pathos, and each of these gestures,
to reflected in history, had been pre-established by Nolan."
What are the philosophical, historical, and religious implications of this
- " " What is the relationship between history and fiction
that Nolan made possible?
Is this only Nolan's responsibility?
- " " What other murder is prefigured by Nolan's elaborate
What are the implications of such a prefiguration?
- " " Why does Ryan suspect that Nolan's use of Shakespeare
had other aims?
On what basis does he suspect that?
To what end would Nolan have done such a thing?
- " " What does Nolan decide to do at the end?
What does he come to suspect?
Do his actions change History?
Is biography the same or similar as history?
Was Nolan's plan extraordinary?
Does it merely repeat what is usual in history and fiction?
The Circular Ruins
- p.45 Where does the epigraph come from?
- " " What does "unanimous" mean in philosophy? [Use
Latin or Spanish]
- " " How would no one see the man come, yet how would no one
be unaware of him a few days later?
- " " How come the man did not push aside the "brambles
which dilacerated his flesh"?
- " " How is the enclosure to which the man arrives?
- " " What happens to his wounds?
How does he react?
- " " Why would his purpose be "invincible"?
- " " What was his immediate obligation?
- p.46 How is his purpose described? What is it?
- " " What effect had this project on the man?
Could he remember anything from his past?
- " " Of what did the stranger dream?
- " " Who were the only students from he could hope anything?
- p.47 What happens to the man upon dissolving the vast illusory college?
What plagues him?
- " " What did he manage to comprehend about the nature of
What are the implications of this realization?
What does it impel the man to do?
- " " What does he begin to dream of?
- p.48 What are "gnostic cosmogonies" and "demiurgi"?
Why would it had been better for the man to destroy his creation?
- " " Who does he worship in order to infuse life into his
- " " What words does the Fire use to describe the man's creation?
What conditions does the Fire attach to his assistance?
What happens as a result of this aid?
Does the creation wake up?
- p.49 What plans does the man - the stranger, the magician- undertake
next with his dream child?
- " " What troubled the magician at times?
- " " To what did he have to accustom the boy?
How did he do that?
- " " What did he instill into his son before bidding him farewell?
What does he do before letting him go?
- " " What is he later informed by the boatmen?
What effect do these news cause in the magician?
- p.50 How does the magician feel about what he knows about his own son?
How does he imagine his son could feel if he found out?
- " " How was the end to his meditations foretold?
What signs were there?
Had this happened before?
- " " What does the magician discover about himself?
How does it make him feel?