Jorge Luis Borges: Mysticism, Fiction, and Politics
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 EST
July 23 — August 20, 2020
4 sessions over 5 weeks
Class will likely not meet consecutively for four weeks, as the instructor anticipates spending a week, likely in early August, relocating to a position abroad. If you enroll, please note that the final class may take place August 20th.