Syllabus and Course Requirements

Week 1

Day 1

Information about the course. The title. Bibliography. Participation in class. Final papers. Projects.
Introduction to Borges.
The multiphacetic writer.
The poetry. The essays. The short stories.
The journalistic pieces. "El Hogar"
The translations.
The collaborations.
The "heterónimos" with Adolfo Bioy Casares. Bustos Domecq.
A life that spans a century.
His evolution. His passions. His politics.
His influence on Latin American writing.

Reading:
"Biographical Notes"

Day 2

The poet and the essayist

Readings:
"Mirror, Mask, Labyrinth", Susan Stewart, The Nation 2010

Essays:
Ultra manifesto
On expressionism
After images
Joyce’s Ulysses
An investigation of the word
On Literary Description
On metaphor

Poems:
Patio
Street with a pink corner store
Afterglow
Sepulchral Inscription
Dreamtigers
The cyclical night
Museum
Boundaries

Day 3

Visit to Borges Museum and to Xul Solar Museum.

Day 4

The poet and the essayist

Essays:
The Full Extent of My Hope
The Language of the Argentines
The Argentine Writer and Tradition
I, a Jew.

Poems:
Poem of the Gifts
Ars Poetica
Mirrors
The Golem
Heraclitus
The Labyrinth
In Praise of Darkness
The Suicide
Ein Traum

Week 2

Day 1

The poet and the essayist

Criticism:
Beatriz Sarlo: Jorge Luis Borges: A Writer on the Edge

Essays:
A profession of Literary Faith
A New Refutation of Time
Paradiso XXXI,108
Preface to the 1954 Edition of a Universal History of Infamy
Kafka and his precursors

Poems:
The Young Night
Sleep
The Horse
Doomsday
Inferno V, 129
Haiku

Day 2

The short story writer

Short stories:
The Secret Miracle
The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths
On Geography and the Exactitude of Science
Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
The Book of Sand
Herbert Quain

Criticism:
Jaime Alasraki: Jorge Luis Borges

Day 3

Meeting with writers to discuss Borges’s influence on Argentine literary tradition.

Day 4

Essays:
Narrative Art and Magic
The Supersticious Ethics of the reader
Flaubert & his Exemplary Destiny
Preface to The Invention of Morel
On Virginia Woolf
On Paul Valéry
On Faulkner

Short stories:
The Circular Ruins
The Library of Babel
Funes the Memorious
Epilogue to Dreamtigers

Week 3

Day 1

"On Mysticism": Preface by Maria Kodama

Essays:
Thomas Mann on Schopenhaur
George Santayana

Short stories:
The Aleph
The Zahir
The Writing of the God
The Theologians
Averroes’ Search

Day 2

Essays:
Berkeley’s Crossroads
The tragic everyday, the blind pilot, words and blood

Short stories:
The Simurgh and the Eagle
The House of Asterion
The Inmortal
The Lottery in Babylon
The Approach to Almotasim
Three Versions of Judas
The Theologians

Day 3

Film by Alberto Manguel

Written assignment

Day 4

Essay:
The Labyrinths of the Detective Story

Short Stories:
Emma Zunz
The Garden of Forking Paths
Death and the Compass

Week 4

Day 1

Islandia & Anglo-Saxon Literature

Migdarthormr
Snorri Sturluson
Poem written on a copy of Beowulf
To a Saxon Poet

Day 2

Special Activity: A talk by Argentine critic Adriana Amante

Day 3

More poems:
Matthew XXV: 30
On Salvation by Deeds
Sonnets:
Chess
Rain
Compass
Buenos Aires
Labyrinth
To Israel
I am
Remorse
Music box

Day 4

More essays:
Two Ways to Translate
The Homeric Versions

Short Story:
Pierre Menard: The Author of the Quixote

Conclusions

Course Requirements

  • This course is taught in English so previous knowledge of Spanish is not required.
  • Students will meet in class for three hours, four times a week (Monday-Thursday) with Dr. Negroni. Each week students will submit a written assignment in response to the weekly readings.
  • Students will be involved in projects with contemporary Argentine writers.
  • Students will participate in the cultural life of Buenos Aires by attending at least three scheduled events per week (book presentations, readings, and visits to museums, galleries and artists' studios). A weekly report on the events will be required.

This course can be taken for 3 or 5 credits. For 5 credits, students will be expected to complete a take home term paper.