Postcolonial Borges: Argument and Artistry

ISBN : 9780198794714

Robin W. Fiddian
256 Pages
135 x 216 mm
Pub date
Aug 2017
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Postcolonial Borges is the first systematic account of geo-political and postcolonial themes in a range of writings by Borges, from the poetry and essays of the 1920s, through the prose and poetry of the middle years (the 40s, 50s, and 60s), to the stories of El informe de Brodie and the poems of La cifra and other later collections. Robin Fiddian analyses the development of a postcolonial sensibility in works such as 'Mythical Founding of Buenos Aires', 'Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius', 'Theme of the Traitor and the Hero', and 'Brodie's Report'. He examines Borges's treatment of national and regional identity, and of East-West relations, in several essays and poems, contained, for example, in Other Inquisitions and Seven Nights. The theoretical concepts of 'coloniality' and 'Occidentalism' shed new light on several works by Borges, who acquires a sharper political profile than previously acknowledged. Fiddian pays special attention to Oriental subjects in Borges's works of the 70s and 80s, where their treatment is bound up with a critique of Occidental values and assumptions. Classified by some commentators over the years ago as a precursor of post-colonialism, Borges in fact emerges as a prototype of the postcolonial intellectual exemplified by James Joyce, Aime Cesaire (for example), and Edward Said. From a regional perspective, his repertoire of geopolitical and historical concerns resonates with those of Leopoldo Zea, Enrique Dussel, Eduardo Galeano, and Joaquin Torres Garcia , who illustrate different strands and kinds of Latin American post-colonialism(s) of the twentieth century. At the same time, manifest differences in respect of political and artistic temperament mark Borges out as a postcolonial intellectual and creative writer who is sui generis.


Introduction: Borges, Latin America, and Postcolonial Discourse
1 Setting the Political and Cultural Agenda: Selected Writings of the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties from Inquisiciones to Discusion
2 Giving Voice(s) to Argentina: From 'The Language of the Argentines' and Early Poetry to 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote'
3 'Tlon Uqbar, Orbis Tertius': Reflections on/of Coloniality
4 Self, Family, Nation: Writing Postcolonial Argentina in 'Theme of the Traitor and the Hero'
5 Consolidating the Postcolonial Agenda: Culture and Politics in Selected Writings of the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties
6 Europe in the Dock: An Intertextual Reading of 'Brodie's Report'
7 Borges the Post-Orientalist: Selected Writings of the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties
8 Borges, Politics, and the Postcolonial

About the author: 

Robin Fiddian graduated with a Master's degree and a Doctorate from Edinburgh University. He is Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College Oxford, having held the post of Tutorial Fellow in Spanish there from 1990 to 2015. Previously Robin Fiddian taught at University of Strathclyde, University College, Galway, Republic of Ireland, and University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He was Visiting Professor at University of Texas at Austin (1980), University of Virginia at Charlottesville (2002), and University of California at Los Angeles (2007). Robin Fiddian's research interests include modern peninsular Spanish literature, Spanish cinema, and modern Spanish American literature (with special reference to Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina).

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