"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library" - Jorge Luis Borges
The poet, Jorge Luis Borges, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1899. He received his early education at home but attended a local public school from the age of nine years. Around the same time he published his first literary work - a translation into Spanish of Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince. He finished his education in Switzerland before moving to Spain in 1919, by which time he was fluent in several languages and had begun to write and translate poetry. In 1921 he returned to Buenos Aires with his family. In 1923 he published his first volume of poetry, Fervor of Buenos Aires. He followed this with two more books of poetry in the 20s, before turning his attention from verse to literary criticism (for the next thirty years), publishing a number of volumes of essays during the mid-20s to the end of the '30s.
Following the death of his father in 1938, and his own narrow recovering from a head injury that became infected with septicemia, he began to write short stories which were collected in Ficciones (1944). A second volume of similar tales, entitled The Aleph, was published in 1949. Much of Borge's fame is based on these two volumes.
In 1955 he became director of the National Library in Buenos Aires. Sadly, around the same time his sight deteriorated to the point where he was effectively blind. He continued to publish collections of essays and short stories and wrote a number of books in collaboration with others.
In 1961 he shared the International Publishers Prize with Samuel Beckett, which brought him world recognition; and in 1970 he was the first recipient of the $25,000 Matarazzo Sobrinho Inter-American Literary Prize.
He died on June 14th,1986, in Geneva, Switzerland. Let us hope that the next life lived up to his expectations!
This quote & biography originally ran in an issue of BookBrowse's membership magazine. Full Membership Features & Benefits.
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