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Borges: After the Classics

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The writings of Jorge Luis Borges (Buenos Aires, 1899 – Geneva, 1986) are punctuated by references to the Greco-Roman classics, yet the discipline of Classics has engaged surprisingly little with Borges’ widely read oeuvre. Likewise, while scholarship on Borges has produced pioneering studies of his work, it has not focused systematically on his dialogue with the classical past. Based on her work-in-progress monograph, Laura Jansen’s talk will explore the question of “Borges after the Classics”. Using select examples from the author’s poetry and short fictions, as well as a recently published collection of his marginal annotations and reading notes, it will consider the subject from two perspectives: it will ask how Borges’ appeal to classical antiquity opens up new understandings of his work and how this process renders new insights into Greco-Roman literature, philosophy, and culture. In reading Borges’ reception of the Classics with this dual approach, the paper will offer dynamic and mutually reinforcing discussions for Classicists as well as Hispanists, Latin Americanists, and historians of modernist literature.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Classical Reception Seminar Series series.

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