The writer who defined humility as a “form of lucidity” would be overwhelmed. With the arrival of August, the month of his birth back in 1899, the king of his star appears on the horizon of Argentine literature: Jorge Luis Borges. In recent years, in addition to celebrating his legacy with publications -which in 2022 include the usual reissues of the work, essays by specialists and novels that take up little-used aspects of his biography- it has become customary to organize activities open to the community under the Borgean calendar. In-person and virtual, the conferences and festivals in tribute to Borges include this month the participation of prestigious critics and writers such as María Kodama, Beatriz Sarlo, Alberto Manguel, Laura Rosato and Germán Álvarez, Luis Chitarroni, María Rosa Lojo, Sylvia Saítta, Ana María Shua, Julio Schvartzman, Judith Podlubne and the Spaniards Javier Cercas and Luis García Montero.
Borges Festival: virtual encounters with the great fabulist
The first appointment on the Borges agenda is the second edition of the Borges Festivalorganized by the editor Marisol Alonso and the writer Vivian Dragna, which begins next Monday at 6:00 p.m. with a talk about the author of fictions and quantum physics, by the scientist and writer Alberto Rojo, and another by the filmmaker Sebastián Cardemil Muchnik, on Borges and cinema, at 8 p.m. The festival, which has the support of the Ministry of Culture of the city of Buenos Aires , Fundación Itaú and Bajalibros, runs until Friday the 12th and aims to spread Borges’ work and bring it closer to new audiences with free talks and workshops. It will be broadcast live on the Borges Festival YouTube channel, with a total of fourteen scheduled activities, all free with prior registration through this website.
“On this occasion we want to strengthen something that we have been working on since the first edition, which is get new readers to approach the work of Borges Alonso tells LA NACION. The way is to remove solemnity, to be able to see that Borges is a writer who explores themes, genres and literary resources with humor and a great imagination, always approaching other authors, to continue multiplying the reading. Almost like a magnifying glass that makes us see something that was there but we had not seen and it reveals other possible realities. This year we continue to add new themes, beyond the literary: such as music, cinema or physics”. In 2021, the Borges Festival was declared of cultural interest by the Buenos Aires Legislature and had 38,000 registrations from attendees from sixty countries.
Between the international guests they include the Spanish writer Javier Cercas, who will refer to his readings of Borges and the influence he had on his own literature (Friday 12 at 4 pm); the Spanish poet Luis García Montero will focus on the poetic features of Borges’s writing (Tuesday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and the Italian academic Federico Favali will draw parallels between Borges’ texts and musical pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries, on Thursday 11 at 4:00 p.m.
Alberto Manguel will provide a profile of the reader Borges (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), and María Rosa Lojo, on 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the path of the hero (and heroines) in Borgean stories. At the closing of the festival, Beatriz Sarlo will delve into the cosmopolitan spirit of Borges in tension with his national destiny, graphed as “the shores” (12 to 20). Also invited to the Borgean caravan were the translator, writer and Instagrammer Jorge Fondebrider, the researchers Mariela Blanco and Magdalena Cámpora, the French professor of Latin American literature Mariana Di Ció and the professor and Doctor of Letters Lucas Adur, who will speak about the “Borges pop”. And there will be two workshops, free and with prior registration, on the stories “The garden of forking paths”, by the communicator Marcos Liyo, and “Emma Zunz”, by the writer Silvia Hopenhayn.
Fourth edition of #BorgesPalooza
On the weekend of the 20th and 21st of this month the #BorgesPalooza, to be held at the San Martín Cultural Center (Sarmiento 1551). “This fourth edition has a new component: for the first time it will be face-to-face -says the writer and journalist Daniel Mecca, organizer of the initiative-. After the years of confinement due to quarantine, I understood that it was necessary to have an experience like this #BorgesPalooza to add the putting into play of the body that is part of the Borgean discourse. There is an imaginary around Borges that his literature is purely cerebral, but in Borges there is not only a body, there is not only a bloodstream running through his stories or poems or essays, but he himself had a territorial attitude: the conquest of letters and public space at the same time”.
The line up of this edition is integrated, among others, by the writers and critics Luis Chitarroni, Elsa Drucaroff, Gonzalo Aguilar, Sylvia Iparraguirre, Ana María Shua, Juan Sklar, Annick Louis and Luis Gusmán. “Issues like Borges, sex and humor, a view of Borges as a reader of the Divine Comedyhis translations and his links with Kafka -Mecca anticipates-. The Borges of police literature, the cinema in his work and psychoanalysis will also be addressed. The opening will be in charge of Luis Chitarroni, on Saturday 20 at ten in the morning!, who will refer to “the ephemeral eternity of the moment” from Borges. The festival, adds Mecca, “does not start from any original base: that pendular movement between themes, those transfers, those fragments, are in the nature of Borges’ work.” Admission is free and free and the talks will be recorded. Those interested can register at this link to receive all the news of the #BorgesPalooza; those who join the BorgesPalozza Club will be able to participate in the exclusive class on Borges and The Quijoteby Federico Jeanmarie. The schedule is here.
Borges squared: sessions at the Borges Cultural Center
From the 24th, the day of the 123rd anniversary of Borges’s birth, until the 27th, the “Borges 2022 Conference. Confabulations: plural writings and collective readings” will be held, coordinated by Lucas Adur at the Borges Cultural Center (Viamonte 525). As is often the case in this initiative promoted by the Jorge Luis Borges International Foundation, chaired by María Kodama, national and international researchers and scholars of the author’s work Other inquisitions they will give conferences and animate debates and thematic tables with the same purpose: to continue reading a universal Argentine writer.
As part of the celebration, the Borges presents a series of activities that include concerts, Borgean theater for the whole family, and exhibitions. On the second floor there is even an open library with copies of and about his work, with comfortable armchairs to sit down to read, and a route designed by the writers María Pía López and Juan Laxagueborde. All activities are free and free.
“Borges’s writing, despite being one of the most singular in the history of our literature, is also a plural writing -Adur points out-. Not just for the polysemy with which his texts are endowed but because it often arises from dialogues, collaborations and controversies. Generation companions, loves, friends and even enemies of Borges are part of the magma from which his work emerges. A work that, in addition, often thematizes writing or reading machines that are collective: sects, secret societies and different types of conspiracies that seek to reread or rewrite the world”. This year’s sessions try to approach the different ways in which Borges’s writing can be read.
On Wednesday the 24th the meeting opens with a virtual dialogue between Kodama, Luce López Baralt (from the University of Puerto Rico) and Adur on the mystical experience in Borges (available from that day on on the YouTube channel of the Borges Cultural Center) and, at 5:30 p.m. in the Williams Room, with the unmissable conference “Library Borges”, by Laura Rosato and Germán Álvarez. At 7 pm, there will be live music with Alejandra Sartore and Lucía Herrera and a poetry reading by the actress and singer Nacha Guevara. Closing the Reader’s Day, with words to the public, Kodama, the Minister of Culture of the Nation, Tristán Bauer, and the director of Borges, Ezequiel Grimson.
On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., in the Mercedes Sosa Room, you will be able to attend the conference “A grocery store in Cuchilla Negra and a metal that is not of this world”, by professor and researcher Julio Schvartzman. At 7:00 p.m., professor and researcher Sergio Pastormerlo will speak about Borges and literary history. On Friday at 5:30 p.m., in the Williams Room, Rodrigo Muryan, Belén de los Santos and Nicolás Coria will speak about Pierre Menard and other Borgean apocryphal writers. At 7:00 p.m., in the Mercedes Sosa Room, the researcher Sylvia Saítta will give her lecture “Before the book. Borges in newspapers and magazines”.
On Saturday the 27th, the virtual conference “Borges and the One thousand and One Nights”, by Dr. Bahira Abdulatif, from the University of Baghdad and the University of Salvador (will be available on the Borges YouTube channel). From 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the Williams Room, the talks continue: “Borgean conspiracies. Judas and the Gnostics”, by Fabián Bautista, Edna Goldman, Constanza Casagrande and María Sevlever; and from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., “Tlön. Secret societies and fictional worlds”, with Alan Ojeda, Gabriela Raidé and Lucas Adur. At 6:30 pm, in the Mercedes Sosa Room, Annick Louis will give her closing conference, “Author’s Fables”. In the next few days, the detailed program of the conference will be found on the websites of the Ministry of Culture and the Borges Cultural Center.