Yesterday marked the 111th anniversary of the birth of the author Jorge Luis Borges, who died in 1986. Penguin has been releasing a series of collections of his poetry, prose and fiction this year, such as On Mysticism, On Writing, On Argentina and The Sonnets. For many years his work has been reissued in new forms, such as topically or in new translations; making it almost akin to the kind of rock album anthologizing and remixing treatments given to bands like The Rolling Stones. I was intrigued to see that The Borges Center has moved to The University of Pittsburgh. I didn’t find out about it until recently, after my visit to that city in April. It was definitely a case of so close yet so far, as I visited the building housing the center, the magnificent Cathedral of Learning, an entirely appropriate home for Borges scholarship.
Though the center has lots of material online, I’ll try to schedule a visit for the next time I am in Pittsburgh. One item in particular caught my attention on their site: an event held earlier this year in Jerusalem, called “Borges and I,” in which five Borges scholars discussed their work. One was Professor Saul Sosnowski of the University of Maryland, who years ago taught in the Hebrew school I attended as a child in Scranton, Pa. As a new school year dawns, it might be a good time to employ the device of a conversation with your younger self, as Borges describes in the short story “The Other.” Finally, take a few moments for reflection with the recent NPR blog post Borges, The Universe and The Infinite Library, by the Dartmouth theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser. It reminds us that Borges’ work, in all its forms, remains thought-provoking, timeless and subject to new interpretations as the world changes.
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