The Buenos Aires of Borges

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The entire world has paid homage to Jorge Luis Borges, confirmed as one of the most important writers of the last century. Right now, in Madrid, a great exhibition called “El Atlas de Borges” is being presented in Madrid. Such event shows of more than 130 photos belonging to the personal album that the writer carried in his trips around more than 20 cities in the world.

Another side of such exhibition is found in Buenos Aires. Here, Borges was born and became a writer. Besides, here, he was director of the National Library, university professor and polemicist. That person who wants to walk along his footsteps can follow the biographical tour proposed by the Entity of Tourism of the City of Buenos Aires (Entur). Starting from his birth home, in downtown, people can appreciate the building of the former School of Philosophy and Letters where Borges taught English Literature. Then, they can see the Miguel Cané Municipal Library and the former site of the National Library, where he worked in, and the museum house devoted to his intimate friend, the artist Xul Solar.

It is possible to see the facades of all the houses where Borges lived in, on the avenues Quintana, Pueyrredón and at Maipú street, where he spent his life from the 40′s to his last days. However, the most important thing is to visit his childhood neighbourhood, Palermo. According to his memories , in the beginnings of the XX century, that zone was the border between the city and countryside. His family lived in that house that does not longer exist, at Serrano 2147, now called Jorge Luis Borges.

Furthermore, visitors can walk along the forests of Palermo listening to the writer’s voice. The website of Tourism of the City includes offers this tour with its service called Guideaudio which allows people to download audio files to their mp3 device or listen directly through their mobile phones. Thus, at Borges 2135, his childhood memories can be listened. Also, there is another audioguide file in the corner of the store El Preferido de Palermo, considered as the inspiration place for the famous story “El hombre de la esquina rosada”; and at Borges and Rusell Alley, his own description about the tradition of the “compadritos” of the neighbourhoods can be listened.

But the best thing is found in the corner of Borges and Guatemala, the corner of the “mythical block”, in which the writer lived. Then, he chose this place for his version of the city’s origin. From here, people can appreciate the passages of his famous “Fundación Mítica de Buenos Aires”, in which he describes: “Una manzana entera pero en mitad del campo / expuesta a las auroras y lluvias y sudestadas / La manzana pareja que persiste en mi barrio / Guatemala, Serrano, Paraguay, Gurruchaga”. The writer obviously ended this text with the best homage to his city “A mí se me hace cuento que empezó Buenos Aires / La juzgo tan eterna como el agua y el aire”.

Do you know other points in the city related to Borges? Which one would you recommend?

3 Comentarios para “The Buenos Aires of Borges”

  1. Martinja escribió:

    One of the reasons I’d like to visit Argentina for is Borges. When I read him at college I found one of my favorites writers and now am trying to read some of his stories in Spanish, but it is not easy.
    Borges has many fans in Montenegro!

  2. translating help! escribió:

    Hi! I am trying to translate some borges’ poems, just for the sake of it. In Fervor de Buenos Aires, a book not so famous as it should, I think, I find in the first line of “Caminata”: “Olorosa como un mate curado”. I am afraid the only thing I know about mate is that it is some kind of infusion.
    Could anybody help me?
    Thanks and great post!

  3. Francisco escribió:

    Dear Martinja,
    “Mate” (pronunced: MAH-teh) is indeed the name of a local infusion. The word “Mate” can be used to call the infusion, the mate herb or the small calabash gourd (or pot) in which is served. In this case Borges refers to the calabash gourd, and more specifically it’s “preparation”. “Curar” a mate is something you do when the calabash is new. You can do this by putting mate herb and hot water inside, and leaving it for some days.

    Here its a picture of the mate:
    http://www.arikah.net/commons/en/0/0c/Mate_03_calabaza.jpg

    by the way im glad that Borges is readed in Montenegro, and that you enjoyed his works. I think that one of the most beutiful thing about Borges books its that it doesnt matter the distances or cultures, everyone can share his infinit universe.

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