Translated from the Spanish by Clark M. Zlotchew
These wide-ranging conversations have an open and intimate tone, giving readers a uniquely personal glimpse of one of the most fascinating figures in contemporary world literature.
Interviewer Fernando Sorrentino, an Argentinian writer and anthologist, displays literary acumen, sensitivity, urbanity, and an encyclopedic knowledge of Borges' work. (In his prologue, Borges jokes that Sorrentino knows his work "much better than I do.") Borges wanders from nostalgic reminiscence to literary criticism and from philosophical speculation to political pronouncements. His thoughts on literature run the gamut from the Bible and Homer to Hemingway and Cortázar. We learn that Dante is the writer who most impressed Borges, that Borges considered García Lorca to be a "second-rate poet," and that he considered Bioy Casares one of the most important authors of the twentieth century. Along the way, Borges dwells lovingly on his native Buenos Aires.
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"For seven afternoons, the teller of tales preceded me, opening tall doors which revealed unsuspected spiral staircases, through the National Library's pleasant maze of corridors, in search of a secluded little room where we would not be interrupted by the telephone…The Borges who speaks to us in this book is a courteous, easy-going gentleman who verifies no quotations, who does not look back to correct mistakes, who pretends to have a poor memory; he is not the terse Jorge Luis Borges of the printed page, that Borges who calculates and measures each comma and each parenthesis." —from the Preface by Fernando Sorrentino
Fernando Sorrentino is an Argentine writer born in Buenos Aires in 1942. His works have been translated into numerous languages. The University of Texas Press published his Sanitary Centennial and Selected Short Stories. His website is fernandosorrentino.com.ar.
Clark M. Zlotchew is a professor of Spanish at SUNY Fredonia.