Abstract

Abstract:

Jorge Luis Borges's Manual de zoología fantástica, published in 1957 and translated as The Book of Imaginary Beings, constitutes a modern bestiary of mythical and fabulous creatures that Borges himself once dismissed as a mere "sideshow." Although critics have largely followed the author in reading this book as a curious but unoriginal compilation of already-told tales, certain literary strategies mark it as an original Borgesian text, one worthy of serious consideration. The writer's signature concerns are revealed in the tension between inventory and imagination—that is, between the role of the manual in classifying the empirical world and the role of the fantastic in expanding the bounds of that world. Borges alternately conceals and reveals his "authority" in the matter of imaginary beings, layering a bemused irony over the ground of a vast—though sometimes spurious—erudition.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 134-151
Launched on MUSE
2020-04-02
Open Access
No
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