Borges the Unacknowledged Medievalist: Old English and Old by M. Toswell

By M. Toswell

The Argentinian author and poet Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) used to be many stuff in the course of his existence, yet what has long past mostly disregarded is that he was once a medievalist, and his curiosity in Germanic medievalism was once pervasive all through his paintings. This research will ponder the medieval parts in Borges artistic paintings and shed new gentle on his poetry.

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Extra info for Borges the Unacknowledged Medievalist: Old English and Old Norse in His Life and Work

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The Old English uses the polyptoton of gyltas/gyltendum to suggest that sinning and sinners tread very close together. For Borges, betraying and being betrayed had the same close connection: being desleal and having others be desleales was part and parcel of the life he expected. 14 Even very casual mentions demonstrate Borges’ knowledge of matters medieval. In an uncollected poem simply entitled “1985,” and perhaps one of his last works, Borges begins with No en el clamor de una famosa fecha,/roja en el calendario (Not in the clamor of a famous date,/ red on the calendar).

When the Peronists were gone, Borges was nearly blind but his political and intellectual allies insisted on his new job as director of the Biblioteca Nacional (the National Library), and later on his appointment as professor of literature in the university. His grandparents had lost land, money, and influence for supporting the losing sides in previous political conflicts, and the fortunes of Borges himself also rose and fell according to current political winners and losers. Thus, throughout his life Borges was fascinated by the rougher elements in Argentinian society, by the criminals and the losers, by the gauchos and the emotional and passionate world they inhabited.

49. Barnstone, With Borges, p. 1. See Steven Boldy, A Companion to Jorge Luis Borges (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Tamesis, Boydell & Brewer, 2009), pp. 42–43. 0004 3 Borges the Poet Abstract: Borges was first a poet, and his medievalism does seem imbricated with his poetry. Many of his poems make casual references to Old English and Old Norse medieval texts, as analyzed in the opening of the chapter. Other poems are explicitly about medieval matters, including those about an Anglo-Saxon ruler and about learning Old English.

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