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The Total Library: Non-Fiction 1922-1986 (Penguin Modern Classics) [Paperback]

Jorge Luis Borges , Esther Allen , Suzanne Levine
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Price: 11.55 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

18 Jan 2001 Penguin Modern Classics
Though best known in the English speaking world for his short fictions and poems, Borges is revered in Latin America equally as an immensely prolific and beguiling writer of non-fiction prose. In THE TOTAL LIBRARY, more than 150 of Borges' most brilliant pieces are brought together for the first time in one volume - all in superb new translations. More than a hundred of the pieces have never previously been published in English. THE TOTAL LIBRARY presents Borges at once as a deceptively self-effacing guide to the universe and as the inventor of a universe that is an indispensible guide to Borges

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The Total Library: Non-Fiction 1922-1986 (Penguin Modern Classics) + Fictions + Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings (Penguin Modern Classics)
Price For All Three: 24.83

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (18 Jan 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141183020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141183022
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

This third Penguin volume marking the centenary of the birth of Jorge Luis Borges follows the publication of the Collected Fictions and Selected Poems: editor Eliot Weinberger's choice of Borges' non-fiction writings in The Total Library gives readers the necessary corollary to the work for which the Argentine author became most famous--and for which he became lauded as one of the great writers of the 20th century. Predominantly celebrated for the stories published variously in Fictions and Labyrinths, Borges was nevertheless equally at ease writing about an extraordinary variety of subjects--this huge volume presents a mere 161 pieces out of over 1,200 extant non-fiction texts--ranging from mathematics to 'A History of the Tango', from meditations on blindness (he himself lost his sight in 1955) to reviews of films such as King Kong, from essays on Dante to responses to the rise of Nazism. What surprises, for even the Borges aficionado, is the breadth and idiosyncrasy of his topics and the singular intelligence that animates his work, and the fact that, despite his staggering erudition, Borges did not inhabit a world of arcane knowledge but a world in which popular culture and deeply felt responses to the stupidities of fascism and the propaganda of dictators found equal place. The world of the book here becomes the book of the world, and if Borges' texts are invariably short, they contain multitudes.

It would be easy to make a case for the inseparability of Borges' literary output, for interleaving one's reading of the three collections. Coming to these essays one can see themes that appear elsewhere reworked as fiction or poetry: the nature of time, of eternity and infinity find their places in many of his best-known stories, and are illuminated by the discussions and speculations contained herein. What is also apparent, however, is how long-lasting many of his preoccupations were: themes which appear in his earliest essays recur throughout a lifetime of thinking and writing, lending this book, despite its admitted omissions, a deeply intimate sense of a mind working. Among his earliest essays we read: "there is no whole self. He who defines personal identity as the private possession of some depository of memories is mistaken". And later: "My postulate is that all literature, in the end, is autobiographical. Everything is poetic that confesses, that gives us a glimpse of a destiny". If these help mark a few of the philosophical kernels of Borges' work, then one final quotation illuminates his generosity: "I don't know if I am a good writer, but I think I am an excellent reader, or in any case a sensitive and grateful one". He more than deserves the same from those who come to his own extraordinary work. --Burhan Tufail --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) lived in Buenes Aires. His COLLECTED FICTIONS was published in Allen Lane in January 1999.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Borges the Philosopher 5 Jun 2010
Jorge Luis Borges has long been acknowledged as a master of short fiction writing; here he reveals himself to be equally adept in his non-fictional output which ranges across philosophical essays, biographies and literary criticism.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Master of concision 6 Feb 2000
Borges was master of concision, and most pieces in this collection are no longer than 4 pages long. The collection is beautifully translated from the original Spanish into English, and miraculously manages to preserve Borges' voice. English-speaking readers will be unfamiliar with Broges' non-fiction, as he is known primarily as an author of fiction. "The Total Library" reveals to this reader that Borges was also an essayist on a par with Bacon.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleased to get this rare book 28 May 2013
By elxo
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was concerned when it arrived because the pscking looked so flimsy. However, the book was intact and we are very pleased to have it. Quick service, too.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars electric eclecticism 6 Feb 2000
By A Customer
Covering a wider range of topics than one would expect to find in one volume of non-fiction literature, The Total Library is a mine of extraordinary information, and Borges guides the reader through its twists and turns with typical style.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
No literary figure of the 20th century had wider or more eclectic interests than Jorge Luis Borges. The magical realism of his incomparable short stories and poems is reflected in the wide reading, thoughtful reflection and sheer intellectual exuberance of these essays. Brilliant!
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