Borges, Jorge Luis (1899–1986) By Tcherepashenets, Nataly
Jorge Luis Borges is among the writers who have brought international fame to Latin American Literature. A fabulist, poet, essayist and translator, Borges shaped modern literary perception and became a classic of modern letters. His influential concept of writing as rewriting and his view that each word or group of words has a determinant impact on literature’s effectiveness are crucial to an understanding of his texts and exemplify a modern approach to literary theory.
Borges, whose ancestors were among the first Europeans to arrive in America, was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His father, Jorge Guillermo Borges, a lawyer and psychology teacher with anarchist views, taught Jorge Luis philosophy. His mother, Leonor Acevedo de Borges, a proud descendant of a long line of soldiers and freedom fighters, was a dedicated companion to her son until her death at the age of 99. Her help was indispensable, especially when Jorge Luis’s blindness made it very difficult for him to read and write. Two years after Jorge Luis’ birth, his sister Norah, his closest childhood friend and his first illustrator, was born. Both English and Spanish were used in Borges’ house, and he learned to read English before he could read Spanish. This knowledge played a key role in his work as a translator. He introduced James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Wolf, and William Faulkner to the Spanish-speaking world.