Jorge Luis Borges: Mysticism, Fiction, and Politics
612 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
Jorge Luis Borges’ fiction is uniquely powerful for its captivating amalgam of political, mystical, and metaphysical themes. In this course, an introduction to Borges’ most canonical works, we’ll read his great short story collections Ficciones and The Aleph, as well as the essay collection Other Inquisitions—bearing in mind, as we proceed, the literary themes and social concerns that pervaded the most formative decade of Borges’ work, the 1940s. Nazis, Jews, German soldiers in Prague, and Chinese spies in England are just part of the carnival of political allusions that populate Borges’ narratives. How are questions of war, totalitarianism, persecution, and annihilation treated, directly or allusively, in Borges’ fiction? We’ll look closely, too, at Borges’ use of mysticism, particularly Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. How in Borges’ work do speculative metaphysics, myth, and political realities connect? Prior knowledge of Borges is neither necessary nor required; however, enthusiasts and novices will find equal engagement as we investigate these layered works.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:30-9:30pm
May 30 — June 27, 2019
4 sessions over 5 weeks
Class will not meet Thursday, June 13th.