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Strathern, Paul. Borges in 90 minutes.

STRATHERN, Paul. Borges in 90 minutes. Ivan R. Dee. 115p. bibliog. index. c2006. 1-56663-694-9. $8.95. SA

The impact of Jorge Luis Borges upon 20th-century Latin American literature has been profound. His impact on world literature has been no less significant. The adjective "quixotic," which characterizes lofty ideals that are ludicrous because they are totally unrealistic, stems from Miguel de Cervantes's work Don Quixote de la Mancha. Similarly, the word "borgesian" emanates from Borges's works because it characterizes not only a style of writing but also situations that are ironic, labyrinthine and illuminative of the ambiguity in literature, religion, and philosophy. Paul Strathern has ably put Borges's life and work in a clear and understandable context. His insight into why Borges took a dramatic leap from a dilettante writer to a fully mature one is rendered succinctly in language that could summarize Borges's works: "From now on, he decided, he would invent his own history, making use of esoteric fragments from what he had read. Instead of being ruled by history, he would create it; instead of relying upon the past, he would re-invent it and venture into a timeless world of his own making." Thankfully missing from Borges in 90 Minutes is a psychiatric analysis of his personal life. This is a "must read" book for any high school student studying for the Advanced Placement Exam in Hispanic Literature. (Editor's Note: Also recently published in the series: Tolstoy in 90 minutes. 119p. 1-56663-692-2. Poe in 90 minutes. 111p. 1-56663-690-6.) Peter Neissa, Ph.D. Harvard Univ., Romance Lang. & Lit., Cambridge, MA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.
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Author:Neissa, Peter
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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