Borges Works
Interviews & Conversations

Borges on Writing

Ecco Press, 1972, ISBN 0-88001-368-0; Paperback $12.00. Out of Print.

This short book contains the notes from a series of seminars on his writing that took place in 1971 at Columbia University. The book is divided into three sections: "Fiction," "Poetry," and "Translation." Each section takes the form of a dialogue between Borges, Norman Thomas di Giovanni, Frank MacShane, and the students at the seminar. All three sections provide a unique look into Borges' creative techniques and personal beliefs of writing.

Jorge Luis Borges: Conversations

Edited by Richard Burgin.

1. University Press of Mississippi, 1998, ISBN 1578060753; Hardcover. Out of Print. [Search for a Copy]

2. University Press of Mississippi, 1998, ISBN 1578060761; Paperback $15.20. [Browse/Purchase]

Commentary is planned for the future. Until then, here's the publisher's description:

Jorge Luis Borges, one of the indisputably great writers of the twentieth century, was born in Buenos Aires in 1899. Never having been awarded the Nobel Prize, which his readers worldwide believed he deserved, this story writer, poet, essayist, and man of letters died at age eighty-six. This anthology of interviews with him features more than a dozen conversations that cover all phases of his life and work. He discusses his blindness, his family and childhood, early travels, literary friends, and struggles to find his literary identity. In depth he examines the meanings and intentions of his own famous stories and poems, and he speaks of the writers whose works he has loved -- Dante, Cervantes, Emerson, Dickinson, H. G. Wells, Kafka, Stevenson, Kipling, Whitman, Frost, and Faulkner -- and of those whom he disliked, such as Hemingway and Lorca. Borges expresses his contempt for Peron and assesses the tumultuous politics of Argentina. He speaks also of the imagination as a type of dreaming, about issues of collaboration and translation, about philosophy, and about time

Borges at Eighty: Conversations

Interviews with Willis Barnstone

Indiana University Press, 1982, ISBN 0253166268; Out of Print. [Search for a Copy]

By Willis Barnstone, one of Borges' friends and translators. Reviews or commentary are welcome!

Twenty Four Conversations with Borges: Interviews by Roberto Alifano, 1981-1983

Interviews by Roberto Alifano; Translated by Nicomedes Suárez Araúz, Willis Barnstone, and Noemí Escandell.

Grove Press, 1984, ISBN 0394621921; Paperback $8.95. Out of Print. [Browse/Purchase]

Commentary is planned for the future.

With Borges on an Ordinary Evening in Buenos Aires: A Memoir

By Willis Barnstone

1. Univ of Illinois Press, 1993, ISBN 0252018885; Hardcover $34.95. [Browse/Purchase]

2. Univ of Illinois Press, 2000, ISBN 0252068637; Paperback $14.95. [Browse/Purchase]

Commentary is planned for the future. Until then, here are two borrowed reviews:

From Publishers Weekly
The author first met Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) at a New York City poetry reading in 1968; their friendship deepened through the following years in encounters held in Buenos Aires and Cambridge, Mass. In this intimate, invaluable portrait, Barnstone, a professor of comparative literature at Indiana University, presents the poet-storyteller as a figure of paradox and contradictions. Nearly blind in his last decades, Borges longed for his life to end; he was obsessed with the instant after death that, he hoped, would reveal the mysteries of the universe. We see Borges, in place of the popular image of the cerebral metaphysician, as an itinerant sage, a tender lover who married his muse María Kodama on his deathbed, a troubled sleeper whose nightmares were filled with mazes. Barnstone's fluent translations of Borges's verses enliven these reminiscences and conversations. Photos.

From Library Journal
This whimsical account intersperses random recollections of desultory musings on such topics as death, suicide, and, especially, literature, with both pithy sayings ("We are always inventing the past'') and snatches of poetry from Argentine master Jorge Luis Borges. As outtakes from Barnstone's journal, transcribed during the 1970s and 1980s, about his worldwide travels and encounters with Borges, the reminiscences smack of deja vu, recalling in particular his more illuminating Borges at Eighty, from which he has cloned an entire interview. The final product is a work that is too much Barnstone and not enough Borges. Not an essential purchase.

The "Borges Works" Pages

Borges Works Main Page -- Back to the Main Page, where you will find the standard Garden of Forking Paths menu.

Fictions and Artifices -- Short stories; the core Borges works.

Nonfiction -- Collections of essays and lectures.

Poetry -- Brief notes for Borges' poetical works.

Collaborations -- Works of fiction and nonfiction created in collaboration with others.

Bibliography -- A list of Borges' short stories with their original titles and publishing information.


--Allen B. Ruch
29 January 2003


How easy it would be not to think of a Quail! -- Send email to the Great Quail -- comments, suggestions, corrections, criticisms, submissions . . . all are welcome!

Spiral-Bound -- Click here for information about Spiral-Bound, The Modern Word's monthly electronic newsletter. From this page you can read about Spiral-Bound, browse archived past editions, sign up for the Spiral-Bound e-group, and subscribe to the newsletter itself.