Borges - Criticism: Comparative Criticism

contaminated by unreality....


The Contemporary Praxis of the Fantastic: Borges and Cortázar

Julio Rodriguez-Luis

Garland, 1991, Paperback, ISBN 0815301014 Out of print. [Browse/Search for a copy]

Volume 143 in Garland’s Reference Library of the Humanities. From Book News:

This study views Borges’ and Cortázar’s stories strictly from the point of view of a theory of the fantastic, with the intention of determining whether some of the stories are in fact fantastic narratives and, if so, to what extent. The book includes a brief review of the critical analysis of the fantastic, taking into account its Latin American manifestations.

The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story

John T. Irwin

1. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994, ISBN 0801846501; Hardcover, $60.00. [Browse/Purchase]

2. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, ISBN 0801854660; Paperback, $21.95. [Browse/Purchase]

From the publisher:

In The Mystery to a Solution, John Irwin brilliantly examines the deeper significance of the analytical detective genre which Poe created and the meaning of Borges’ efforts to “double” the genre’s origins one hundred years later. Combining history, literary history, and practical and speculative criticism, Irwin pursues the issues underlying the detective story into areas as various as the history of mathematics, classical mythology, the double-mirror structure of self-consciousness, the anthropology of Evans and Frazer, the structure of chess, the mind-body problem, the etymology of the word labyrinth , and dozens of other topics. Irwin mirrors the aesthetic impact of the genre by creating in his study the dynamics of a detective story – the uncovering of mysteries, the accumulation of evidence, the tracing of clues, and the final solution that ties it all together.

A reviewer at has this to say:

Irwin’s award winning book is a stimulating application of now traditional ‘new’ literary criticism/analysis and more recent and trendy (read: quasi-post-modern) devices. The result is a frequently absorbing study of the labyrinthine minds of Poe and Borges, as seen principally through their related six detective pieces. Unfortunately the sutures as well as the strivings-for-effect from Irwin’s foundational lectures stand too proud, making for greater appeal to academics than to even highly motivated general readers. Irwin’s work would find and deserve more cover-to-cover readers, rather than citation researchers, if a second edition were edited for repetitiveness and prolixity.

Go To:

Criticism Main Page – Returns you to the Main Criticism page and the Quick Reference Card of titles.

Biography –Borges biography, conversations and anecdotes.

General Criticism 1 – General literary criticism or commentary on Borges and his writing up until 1989.

General Criticism 2 – General literary criticism or commentary on Borges and his writing from 1990 to the present.

Contextual Criticism – Borges criticism with a specific angle: existential, psychological, Latin American, religious, mathematical, etc.

Bibliography – An alphabetized bibliography of Borges criticism.

Variaciones Borges – Takes you offsite to the homepage of Variaciones Borges, the biannual international journal of Borges studies.

–Allen B. Ruch
3 July 2004

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