Jorge Luis Borges
Language Resources

Early Years

Born in 1899, Jorge Borges was from Buenos Aires in Argentina. His talents spread across literature as he was a gifted poet, writer and essayist. He came from a very mixed background with his father alone being half English, part Spanish and part Portuguese. This meant that his language skills were advanced to the point of being bilingual reading in English by the age of 12. He added to this upon arriving in Geneva, where he learnt French and taught himself German in school. He attained his Baccalauréat in 1918.

His first poem was entitled hymn to the sea, and it stems from the time when he was involved in the ultraist movement. He went back to Buenos Aires in 1921, after public unrest had died down. From there his career took off with his emphasis on ultraism, which opposed Rubén Darío's modernismo. The 1930s saw his work move into a common practice among Latin American writers, known as "irreality". It focused on searching for the answers to existential questions. He worked in Sur, an important Argentine journal, and frequently provided work for it. He met Adolfo Bioy Casares, who worked on several important projects with him. He then moved onto working for Critica newspaper, and there he published several pieces of work.

Father and Son

His father passed away in 1938. After recovering from an accident, he published Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, a pivotal piece of work which focused on the investigation of the relationship between father and son.

Eventually, Borges, would be employed in a small municipal library, where he had much free time to work at ease on personal projects. Despite the fact that he openly expressed his distaste for dictatorships, he became a public speaker, appearing as the head of the society of writers on many occasions. In 1956, he was awarded the National Prize for Literature from the University of Cuyo. He passed away in 1986 in Geneva.