Borges and his games with time


  • Paulína Šišmišová



Borges, metaphysics, time, game, essays, poems, fantastic short stories


The paper explores different modalities of time in essays, short stories and poems by J. L. Borges, as time was one of the key themes in his works. The introduction deals with the ludic character of Borges´s writings. We argue that for Borges, a game is a cipher to the world, literature and even metaphysics and emphasize that the works by Borges are based on a free approach to literary tradition. He perceived philosophical texts as aesthetical artefacts and used them as a foundation on which to build his poems and short stories. The body of the work consists of three parts. First, we analyse Borges´s essays which deal with the issue of time. We briefly describe the genre and the style and we try to outline Borges´s mechanism of thinking. In the second part, we look at Borges´s reflexive poetry and explore the recurrent Heraclitan motif of panta rhei and the motif of the Eternal Return. The third part focuses on Borges´s fantastic short stories in which time becomes the protagonist. In the conclusion, we note that while in Borges´s poetry the philosophical questions about the passing of time acquire an existential dimension, in his fantastic short stories, their function is more ludic. 


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Author Biography

Paulína Šišmišová

La Dra. Paulína Šišmišová es doctora y profesora titular de literatura española e hispanoamericana en la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras de la Universidad Comenius de Bratislava (Eslovaquia). Su labor investigadora se concentra en
las relaciones entre la literatura y la fi losofía. En su monografía Filozofia alebo literatúra? (Prešov, 2003) analiza la obra de Jorge Luis Borges y Ernesto Sabato.
También se dedica al estudio de la teoría de la traducción y es traductora, entre otros, de los ensayos de Borges. Recientemente ha editado una antología de textos sobre la traducción literaria en los países románicos (Translatologické štúdie, Bratislava, 2010).



How to Cite

Šišmišová, P. (2012). Borges and his games with time. Verba Hispanica, 20(2), 325–335.