SPANG009B - The Works of Jorge Luis Borges

Value: 30 credits
Tutor: Dr Humberto Núñez-Faraco
Teaching structure: Seminars
Assessment: one 6,000 word essay.

A. Brief Summary

This module focuses on the work of Jorge Luis Borges, who is widely recognized as the most influential writer in modern Spanish American literature. It seeks to comprehend the complexity of his thought, from the marginal aspirations of his early poetry in praise of Buenos Aires to the universality of his mature writing. The course is taught over one term consisting of ten 2-hour classes, and designed specifically for all students taking the MA in Language, Culture and History in the School of European Languages, Culture and Society.

B. Pre-requisites

A prerequisite for this module is a good command of Spanish language (please note that the module is taught in Spanish). Seminar discussions are held in English. Any student wishing to take this course must be already enrolled either on the MA in LCH or a cognate A&H, SHS or SSEES MA course.

C. Method of Delivery

The delivery of this module consists of weekly lectures and seminars. The course is accompanied by a Moodle site.

D. Aims of the Module

It aims to develop critical and interpretative skills in the field of Borges studies to a highly advanced level as well as enhance the understanding of the cultural, historical and psychological aspects that surround Borges’s work.

E. Learning Outcomes

The course will:

o Develop critical and interpretative skills in the field of Borges studies to a highly advanced level.

o Enhance the understanding of the cultural and historical aspects that surround Borges’s work.

o Develop and improve the student’s ability to conduct independent research, distil information intelligently and write cogent essays.

F. Assessment

The module is examined by one 6,000 word assessed essay, which counts for 100% of the final mark. The assessment criteria used to grade the assignments can be found at:

G. Preparatory Reading and Set Texts


  • Inquisiciones
  • El tamaño de mi esperanza
  • El idioma de los argentinos
  • Otras inquisiciones
  • Siete noches


  • Fervor de Buenos Aires
  • El otro, el mismo


  • Historia Universal de la Infamia
  • Ficciones
  • El Aleph
  • El informe de Brodie


  • Jorge Luis Borges, Obras completas, 4 vols. (Barcelona, Emecé, 1989).
  • ____ Fervor de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, Serrantes, 1923).
  • ____ Inquisiciones (Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 1998).
  • ____ El tamaño de mi esperanza (Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 1998).
  • ____ El idioma de los argentinos (Madrid, Alianza Editorial, 1998).
  • Sara Luisa del Carril (ed.), Textos recobrados 1919-1929 (Buenos Aires, Emecé, 1997).
  • Sara Luisa del Carril (ed.), Textos recobrados 1931-1955 (Buenos Aires, Emecé, 2002).
  • ____ Textos cautivos (Madrid, Alianza, 1998).
  • Irma Zangara (ed.), Borges en Revista Multicolor: obras, reseñas y traducciones inéditas de Jorge Luis Borges (Buenos Aires, Atlántida, 1995).

Secondary sources

  • Edna Aizenberg, El tejedor del Aleph: Biblia, Kábala y judaísmo en Borges (Madrid, Altalena, 1986).
  • ____ (ed.), Borges and His Successors: The Borgesian Impact on Literature and the Arts (Columbia / London, University of Missouri Press, 1990).
  • ____ Books and Bombs in Buenos Aires: Borges, Gerchunoff, and Argentine-Jewish Writing (Hanover / London, University Press of New England, Brandeis University Press, 2002).
  • Jaime Alazraki, Borges and the Kabbalah and Other Essays on His Fiction and Poetry (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988).
  • La prosa narrativa de Jorge Luis Borges, 3rd edn. (Madrid, Gredos, 1983).
  • Daniel Balderston, El precursor velado: R. L. Stevenson en la obra de Borges (Buenos Aires, Editorial Sudamericana, 1985).
  • Ana María Barrenechea, Borges the Labyrinth Maker, Robert Lima (ed. and trans.) (New York, New York University Press, 1965)
  • La expresión de la irrealidad en la obra de Jorge Luis Borges (Mexico, El Colegio de México, 1957).
  • Graciela Ben-Dror, Católicos, Nazis y judíos: la iglesia argentina en los tiempos del Tercer Reich (Buenos Aires, Ediciones Lumiere, 2003).
  • Estela Canto, Borges a contraluz (Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1989).
  • Carlos Cortínez (ed.), Borges, the Poet (Fayetteville, The University of Arkansas Press, 1986).
  • Ronald J. Christ, The Narrow Act: Borges' Art of Allusion (New York, New York University Press, 1969).
  • Juan Fló, Contra Borges (Buenos Aires, Galerna, 1978).
  • Angel Flores, (ed.), Expliquémonos a Borges como poeta (Mexico City, Siglo Veintiuno, 1984).
  • Zunilda Gertel, Borges y su retorno a la poesía (Iowa, University of Iowa; New York, Las Américas Publishing, 1969).
  • Didier T. Jaén, Borges' Esoteric Library: Metaphysics to Metafiction (Lanham, MD / London, University Press of America, 1992).
  • Gabriel Josipovici, ‘Borges and the Plain Sense of Things’, in Evelyn Fishburn (ed.), Borges and Europe Revisited (London, ILAS, 1998), 60-67.
  • A. Louis, ‘Borges y el nazismo’, in Variaciones Borges, 4 (1998).
  • ____ Borges ante el fascismo (Oxford / Bern, Peter Lang AG, 2008).
  • Carlos Meneses, Poesía juvenil de J. L. Borges (Barcelona / Palma de Mallorca, Olañeta, 1978).

· Luis A. Murillo, The Cyclical Night: Irony in James Joyce and Jorge Luis Borges (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1968).

  • Humberto Núñez-Faraco, Borges and Dante: Echoes of a Literary Friendship (Oxford / Bern, Peter Lang AG, 2006).
  • Rafael Olea Franco, El otro Borges. El primer Borges (Buenos Aires, El Colegio de Mexico; Fondo de Cultura Económica de Argentina, 1993).
  • Emir Rodríguez Monegal, Jorge Luis Borges: A Literary Biography (New York, Dutton, 1978).
  • Thorpe Running, Borges’s Ultraist Movement and its Poets (Lathrup Village, MI, International Book Publishers, 1981).
  • Beatriz Sarlo, Jorge Luis Borges: A Writer on the Edge (London, Verso, 1993).
  • Donald L. Shaw, Borges’ Narrative Strategy (Leeds, Cairns, 1992).
  • Guillermo Sucre, Borges, el poeta (Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1967).