Read The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges George Guidall Online

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"The Garden of Forking Paths" (original Spanish title: "El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan") is the title story in the collection El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (1941), which was republished in its entirety in Ficciones (Fictions) in 1944. It was the first of Borges's works to be translated into English by Anthony Boucher when it appeared in Ellery Queen's Myster"The Garden of Forking Paths" (original Spanish title: "El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan") is the title story in the collection El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (1941), which was republished in its entirety in Ficciones (Fictions) in 1944. It was the first of Borges's works to be translated into English by Anthony Boucher when it appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in August 1948....

Title : The Garden of Forking Paths
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ISBN : 9781101222454
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Number of Pages : 1 Pages
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The Garden of Forking Paths Reviews

  • Sr3yas
    2018-09-21 13:40

    Written in 1941, The Garden of Forking Paths is a fascinating short story set during the first world war. The story introduces a Chinese spy living in England and working for Germany during the war, 1916. His cover has just been blown and he is on the run with sensitive information.He travels to meet one person who might be able to deliver this information to Germany.And at this point, everything changes... to a hard science fiction thesis! (Think: Multiverse)I enjoyed this story immensely, mainly because I had no idea what was going on and when I finally pieced together the story, I was quite blown away. Also, Jorge's writing style reminded me of recent works of Ted Chiang, a personal favorite.Recommended.------------------------------By the way, do you want to know how I found this short story?It all started with the movie Coherence (2013)For those who haven't seen the movie, it's about a group of friends who experience the break down of reality barriers as they get together for a dinner party on an evening when a comet is passing overhead.After I finished watching this rather trippy story, I came to Wikipedia to read about the movie and ended up on "See also" section which featured links to three quantum mechanics theories and ONE short story written in 1941.That's how I found this story!

  • Ian
    2018-09-11 07:38

    The Universal LibraryIf life (or a life) can be construed as a text, then the universe might be (analogous to) a library:"The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries."This early, 1941 collection is a mini-gallery of Borges stories that revolve around construction and interpretation, imagination and understanding, of the universe. On the way, it takes in time, space, meaning, truth, consciousness, our selves and our relationship with the universe.Vast and AmbitiousFor Borges, Man is a reader or librarian trying to read, interpret and understand the Library.It's a vast project. Like its object (and perhaps its subject), it's infinite. Vast books can and have been dedicated to the project.Borges makes this project his own, from a fictional point of view. However, he works under a self-imposed constraint:"It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books - setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary, a commentary on them."A more reasonable, more inept, and more lazy man, I have chosen to write notes on imaginary books."Levity and BrevityThe result is one of enormous brevity, yet it's no less intellectually challenging and stimulating. Borges jokingly blames laziness, but it's actually an amazing facility to hint at in five minutes of our reading time what could take writers and philosophers 500 pages to labour through (and not communicate so clearly).Besides, we can safely assume that Borges was familiar with some actual vast works on his subject matter, not just imaginary ones.The Appearance of RealityBorges doesn't need to be encyclopaedic in his approach to the universe. He just pretends to be encyclopaedic. He uses detail, citation, criticism to feign plausibility, verisimilitude, truth and comprehensiveness.His aim is to create a fictitious world that appears to be real. He hopes his fragments will convince us that they contain the essence of the entirety. However, the whole project remains fictional and illusory.In one of the worlds that he creates, there is a belief that "all books are the work of a single author who is timeless and anonymous."In a way, it seems, there is only one book, and one act of creation.Borges the BuilderWe've become accustomed to authors "world building". They strive to build a fictional world that convinces us of its veracity.On the other hand, religions posit that God created the world, the entirety of the universe.Borges might be a writer, but he seems to place himself somewhere between the conventional writer and God.While God might have created the material world, Borges creates an abstract and imaginary world.However, in the process, he self-consciously draws attention to the process and method of creation. He is a master of metafiction.Erik Desmazières - "The Library of Babel" (1997)The Hermeneutics of the LibraryEqually, Borges is interested in the interpretation and understanding of the universe, the Library, the book.He works at the boundary of the imagination, philosophy and hermeneutics. Indeed, his writing suggests that philosophy is fundamentally a work of imagination and interpretation of the Library of the universe.Writers and philosophers alike are trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe.Once we accept this metaphor, this truth, Borges invites us to have some fun with the universe he has created.In a world otherwise preoccupied with the pursuit of order, sense and truth, he introduces play and games that involve hoaxes, fraud, fallacy, artifice, illusion, unreality, illogic, mirrors, mazes, labyrinths.A World Deciphered by Detectives This places the curious reader in the role of a detective who must sift through the evidence in order to determine the meaning of life:"Tlön may well be a labyrinth, but it is a labyrinth forged by men, a labyrinth destined to be deciphered by men." (view spoiler)[At least in the English translation, the word "forged" might be used in its two different senses in this sentence. (hide spoiler)]This decipherment is not as easy as it sounds. There is no certainty that any path taken will lead to the truth.Like one of Borges' narrators, we all work at "the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopaedia."For all the detail that the encyclopaedia might contain, the mirror reminds us that the universe (like our minds) is infinite, recurring and self-reflexive.Making Sense of BooksBecause a book is a mere fragment of the universe, there should be no reason to believe that the truth can be found in a book, either easily or at all. One of the narrators refers to "the vain and superstitious habit of trying to find sense in books, equating such a quest with attempting to find meaning in dreams or in the chaotic lines of the palm of one's hand..."Nevertheless, Borges implies that a book, (precisely) because it contains a fragment of the universe, can also reflect its entirety or, at least, its infinity:"I had wondered how a book could be infinite. The only way I could surmise was that it be a cyclical, or circular, volume, a volume whose last page would be identical to the first, so that one might go on indefinitely."The Chaotic LibraryStill, insofar as the books Borges writes about contain aspects of the universe, they reflect the chaos of the universe as a whole. Perhaps a book is like a mirror held up to the universe, even if it is refracted through author and reader.This focus on chaos is part of the significance of the last story, "The Garden of Forking Paths". The paths lead to "several futures" (though not necessarily all).We are accustomed to believing that a choice of paths represents a spatial decision (e.g., which direction to head down).However, "the garden of forking paths was the chaotic novel; the phrase 'several futures (not all)' suggested to me the image of a forking in time, rather than in space."Erik Desmazières - "Library of Babel, Hall of Planets"The Labyrinth of TimeThe mysteries of the universe are equally and inevitably mysteries about time and the nature of time:"All things happen to oneself, and happen precisely, precisely now. Century follows century, yet events occur only in the present."Hermeneutically, the Library, the universe is a "labyrinth of symbols. An invisible labyrinth of time."There is much in the stories about rival philosophies of time:"[One school of philosophy] denies the existence of time; it argues that the present is undefined and indefinite, the future has no reality except as present hope, and the past has no reality except as present recollection..."[Another school asserts that] all time has already passed, so that our life is but a crepuscular memory, or crepuscular reflection, doubtlessly distorted and mutilated, of an irrecoverable process."We aren't asked to choose between these alternatives. Borges lets us explore many forked paths:"The Garden of Forking Paths is a huge riddle, or parable, whose subject is time."In the Borgesian world, our imagination can experience what it might be like if any one of these theories of time was true.Five Minutes of VastnessIronically, Borges gifts us an experience of the vastness of infinity, of the labyrinth of time, in stories that rarely take more than five minutes to read. For Borges, this is the true pleasure of the imagination: to derive infinite pleasure from something infinitesimal.Still, this world is capable of being simultaneously vast, illusory and mischievous.Borge jokingly warns that some won't be able to get their heads around his Library:"Since not everybody is capable of experiencing [the pleasure of the imagination,] many will have to content themselves with simulacra."Even if we can get into the Borgesian world, we might find, like one of the narrators, that our historical grip on reality is illusory:"With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he realised that he, too, was but appearance, that another man was dreaming him."If only we could be certain that we are the dreamer, not the dream!But is this just the ego vainly trying to master an infinite universe of which it has no real comprehension and over which it has no real power?For Borges, as well as us, the questions have vast and entertaining implications. ADDED EXTRAS:“Merely a Man of Letters” - An Interview with Jorge Luis Borges by Denis Dutton, Michael Palencia-Roth and Lawrence I. Berkovehttp://denisdutton.com/jorge_luis_bor...Podcast:http://denisdutton.com/borges.mp3"Dutton: Why don’t you tell us about some of the philosophers who have influenced your work, in whom you’ve been the most interested?"..."Borges: ...I have no personal system of philosophy. I never attempt to do that. I am merely a man of letters. In the same way, for example that — well, of course, I shouldn’t perhaps choose this as an example — in the same way that Dante used theology for the purpose of poetry, or Milton used theology for the purposes of his poetry, why shouldn’t I use philosophy, especially idealistic philosophy — philosophy to which I was attracted — for the purposes of writing a tale, of writing a story? I suppose that is allowable, no?Dutton: You share one thing certainly with philosophers, and that is a fascination with perplexity, with paradox.Borges: Oh yes, of course — well I suppose philosophy springs from our perplexity. If you’ve read what I may be allowed to call “my works” — if you’ve read my sketches, whatever they are — you’d find that there is a very obvious symbol of perplexity to be found all the time, and that is the maze. I find that a very obvious symbol of perplexity. A maze and amazement go together, no? A symbol of amazement would be the maze.Dutton: But philosophers seem not content ever to merely be confronted with perplexity, they want answers, systems.Borges: Well, they’re right.Dutton: They’re right?Borges: Well, perhaps no systems are attainable, but the search for a system is very interesting.Palencia-Roth: Would you call your work a search for a system?Borges: No, I wouldn’t be as ambitious as all that. I would call it, well, not science fiction, but rather the fiction of philosophy, or the fiction of dreams. And also, I’m greatly interested in solipsism, which is only an extreme form of idealism. It is strange, though, that all the people who write on solipsism write about it in order to refute it. I haven’t seen a single book in favor of solipsism. I know what you would want to say: since there is only one dreamer, why do you write a book? But if there is only one dreamer, why could you not dream about writing a book?"SOUNDTRACK:Valeria Munarriz - "Alguien le dice al Tango (Jorge Luis Borges/Astor Piazzola )"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAWtt...Susana "La Tana" Rinaldi - "El Tango" (Borges)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Br6i...Astor Piazzolla - "El hombre de la esquina rosada" (Borges)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnWFc...A. Perini (Ensemble Resonanz, Beat Furrer) - "Exploración de la biblioteca de Babel"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn4wc...Internal Fusion - "La bibliothèque de Babel"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VE8R...Krystenism - "The Library of Babel"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3w1l...Catedra Saldaña - "La biblioteca de Babel" (Proyectual II)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmmrO...Causa Sui - "Garden of Forking Paths"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00fUX...Causa Sui - "Garden of Forking Paths (Live at Roskilde 2012)"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN4n4...Causa sui denotes something which is generated within itself. This concept was central to the works of Baruch Spinoza, Sigmund Freud, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Ernest Becker, where it relates to the purpose that objects can assign to themselves. In Freud and Becker's case, the concept was often used as an immortality vessel, where something could create meaning or continue to create meaning beyond its own life.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causa_sui["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Cecily
    2018-09-25 12:50

    “The basest of art’s temptations: the temptation to be a genius” (from The Approach to Al-Mu’tasm). In this collection, Borges proves that he succumbed. And I’m very glad he did. I have the Collected Fictions (with copious translator's notes), but am splitting my review of that into its components, listed in publication order: Collected Fictions - all reviews. This is the second, published in 1941, and this is where Borges starts to blow my mind. Some of these stories are initially rather opaque, but they’re also short and SO worthwhile: with many, I read once to get a feel for what it was about, then immediately reread it to connect with it in context. • The first time is gloriously disorienting, almost as it’s in a subtly different dialect from my own; it creates a hypnotic desire to understand. • The second time, a switch has been flipped, I have the key to the kingdom, and the ideas slot into place, whilst retaining a pleasing degree of elusiveness.“There is no intellectual exercise that is not ultimately pointless” (from Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, below). I don’t think Borges himself believed that, and these remarkable stories are a justification of such exercises.The descriptions of individual stories below include minor spoilers; major ones are hidden with spoiler tags. If in doubt, scroll down to the Quotes section at the end.Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius 6*This is the longest and has its own review, here.The Approach to Al-Mu’tasm 6*A review of a non-existent book (unless someone has since written it), that even notes the differences between the first and second editions. This piece allegedly had one of Borges’ friends try to order a copy from a bookshop. The book is described as the “first detective novel written by a native of Bombay” and is an epic, sweeping across India, with a huge cast, but an “uncomfortable amalgam” of overwrought Islamic allegorical poems and European detective fiction. The story though, is a recursive meditation on the duality of good and evil. “The object of the pilgrimage was itself a pilgrimage.”A law student rejects his Islamic faith and end up among the poor, where he “perceives some mitigation of the evil: a moment of tenderness, of exaltation, of silence, in one of the abominable men”. He divines that the goodness must be a reflection from an external source, and sets off to find ever purer connections, via a series of connected rooms: “the insatiable search for a soul by means of the delicate glimmerings or reflections this soul has left in others”. Each of us is like a stone cast in a lake: those nearest us are most affected, but even far away, there are ripples of who and what and how we are. Pierre Menard, Author of the QuixoteEvery reader reads a different book. Even the same reader reads a different book on each encounter. A self-referential exploration of the paradoxes of original composition, and the “new technique… of deliberate anachronism and fallacious attribution”. The last of those is a recurring habit of Borges himself, including in this story, which purports to be about a real writer.This is a short essay about the great, but unfinished work, of a writer, who “did not want to compose another Quixote” but “the Quixote” by combining the don and Sancho into a single character and by, in some sense, becoming Cervantes. His tactic is to “learn Spanish, return to Catholicism, fight against the Moor and the Turk” and forget everything that happened after Cervantes published.Menard’s other writings are listed, but it’s made clear that Quixote is his only important work, “perhaps the most significant writing of our time”, even though, over the course of his life, he only manages to write just over two chapters! A futile quest, perhaps, like Don Quixote’s own?It becomes stranger as the reviewer describes Menard’s work as being “word for word” the same as Cervantes’, but also “more subtle” and “almost infinitely richer”, and yet different as well, because it “overlooks – or banishes – local colour” and many other incidents. So is it the same, or different? Is the Emperor naked or clothed?Don Quixote is the obvious book on which to base this story: it was a favourite of JLB’s, mentioned in many of his stories (including "Parable of Cervantes and the Quixote", which is in Dreamtigers). More importantly, Cervantes did something similar to this story. Part two of DQ was written after what would now be called fan-fic. In part two, DQ himself treats part one as true, criticises the unofficial sequel, and responds to the resulting pressure of fame. I have Calvino’s If on a Winter's Night a Traveler on my TBR, and apparently there are parallels: a character in that tries to echo Sunset at Blandings and quoted again in his own (posthumous) The Salmon of Doubt.The Circular Ruins 6*A circular story about dreaming reality. Pinocchio meets Inception and The Matrix, in Plato’s cave or Wonderland?A man arrives at a temple to “dead, incinerated gods”; it is abandoned and he came with a strange purpose. “The goal that led him on was not impossible, though it was clearly supernatural: He wanted to dream a man… to dream him completely, in painstaking detail, and impose him upon reality.” I misread the final phrase, and thought reality would be imposed about the man conjured by dreams. Both ideas are relevant.It’s a strange and difficult task: “molding the incoherent and dizzying stuff that dreams are made of is the most difficult work a man can undertake… much more difficult than weaving a rope of sand or minting coins of the faceless wind”.I’ve never quite had a lucid dream, but this describes something tantalisingly like it: “in the dreaming man’s dream, the dreamed man awoke”. Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy, and the dreaming man wants the same for his “son”. He gradually accustoms him to reality, and erases his early memory because he “feared that his son… [would] somehow discover that he was a mere simulacrum… the projection of another man’s dream” – and what could be worse than that? Seriously, what could be worse? (view spoiler)[The sad irony is that the man himself is another man’s dream. (hide spoiler)]The Lottery in Babylon 6*This opens with disorienting paradoxes about the narrator who has led a life of opposites, but also “known that thing the Greeks knew not – uncertainty”. The language and ideas were even more reminiscent of Kafka than some of the other pieces (is Qaphqa, a sacred latrine(!) where informers can leave messages, a pun?).“The Lottery is an intensification of chance into the order of the universe… chance should intervene in every aspect.”We are all subject to the whims of fate, nature versus nurture, chaos and order, faith, justice, and chance. But in Babylon, actual lotteries are involved – to an absurd and alarming degree. Conventional ones lost their appeal, “they had not moral force”, so unlucky draws were added to the positive wins. But gradually the people needed a more powerful hit than that. The Company that runs it becomes increasingly powerful (and secretive - the Lottery is drawn in a labyrinth) as every aspect of life, and indeed the draw, is decided by draw.Although “the number of drawings is infinite”, an infinite amount of time is not required, but rather, “infinitely subdivisible time”.Does the Company exist – now or in the past – and does it matter?The Survey of the Works of Herbert QuainHere, Borges is name-dropping philosophers and writing an amusingly catty review of life and works of a fictitious author, starting by noting the “necrological pieties” in the very short obituary in the Times Literary Supplement. He goes on to say that his first book, The God of the Labyrinth, was good except for “somewhat careless plotting and the hollow, frigid stiltedness of certain descriptions of the sea”! Fortunately Borges was able to salvage one of Quain’s works and turn it into the far superior The Circle of Ruins (see above) – so recursion, about a circle. Neat. The Library of Babel 6*This has its own review, here.The Garden of Forking Paths“All things happen to oneself, and happen precisely, precisely now.”Perhaps that’s all that needs to be said about this. But for the record, it’s the confession of a Chinese man, spying for the Germans, and trying to send a crucial message by… thinking out of the box, to use a bit of jargon that is often ghastly, but seems apt here. The ending was a shock! (view spoiler)[The only way to send a secret message about the destruction of a town called Albert was the otherwise motiveless killing of a man called Stephen Albert (hide spoiler)].In the middle of that, is a more philosophical piece about The Garden of Forking Paths, splits in time, rather than space, so that all possible outcomes occur. (view spoiler)[Rather like a choose-your-own-adventure, a confusing old manuscript and the unfound labyrinth it describes turn out to be one and the same: the forking paths are temporal, not spatial.(hide spoiler)]Quotes• “No one saw him step from the boat in the unanimous night.”• “The mirror hovered, shadowing us.”• “In life… he was afflicted with unreality, as so many Englishmen are.”• “Those close English friendships… that begin by excluding confidences and soon eliminate conversation.”• “The aesthetic act must contain some element of surprise, shock, astonishment.”• “To speak is to commit tautologies.”• “He who is to perform a horrendous act should imagine to himself that it is already done, should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past.”• “A keen and vaguely syllabic song, blurred by leaves and distance, came and went on the gentle gusts of breeze.”• He “did not believe in a uniform and absolute time; he believed in an infinite series of times.”

  • Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
    2018-09-09 13:45

    Review to come sometime in the near future when I finally get enough time to myself to write reviews for everything I've read recently. I got very strong Bioshock Infinite vibes from the concept, which is always a good thing, and it also put me in mind of the superb Doctor Who episode called The Girl Who Waited- both of these, of course, came into being long after this short story was published, which makes it all the more impressive for still being so intriguing despite all the spins various media have done on its base premise.I toyed with writing my review for El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan in Spanish, but I'm just not confident/familiar enough with all the intricacies of the language to do it.Algún día, mis amigos.Algún día.(Read it here.)

  • Sarah
    2018-09-21 13:46

    بورخس چرا اينجوري ميكنه با من؟! براي روز اول سال انتخابي بسي نامناسب بود، ولي خب دوسش دارم بورخسو... سومين بار بود اين داستانو ميخوندم

  • Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
    2018-08-28 10:40

    You are having breakfast this morning. Cereals. You are also floating in the middle of the ocean now, alone in a raft, trying to survive a shipwreck three days ago. Both are true as well as all the millions of possibilities about you and everyone else.Goodreads quote for today by Janet Frame: "There is no past or future. Using tenses to divide time is like making chalk marks on water." Yesterday, it was: "Am I alive and a reality, or am I but a dream?" (Edgar Rice Burroughs). Two of the many number of ways to look at time. Here Jorge Luis Borges suggests: "(There is) an infinite series of times, in a dizzily growing, ever spreading network of diverging, converging and parallel times. This web of time--the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other through the centuries--embraces EVERY possibility."But how to tell a story of "time" being like this? Well, one needs a master storyteller like Borges and a story like this, "The Garden of Forking Paths" which one has to read in silence, then read again, and re-read, again and again.

  • dc craig
    2018-09-25 10:01

    Borges is a philosopher's writer: He uses literary narratives as a vehicle for expressing the ideas of philosophy and, in particular, epistemology. The reason why his work is so important is that it places literature more securely onto a knowledge footing. The human experience is described not just persuasively on its own terms, but within a framework of well-developed theories of truth and knowledge.The Garden of Forking Paths deals with a number of epistemological concepts. The most prominent is the scientific theory of a multiverse, in which many courses of action occur simultaneously. Others are the role of intuition and imagination in the decisions we make. A persistent undercurrent in the story is the illusion of free will, as the narrator continually confronts his ethnic, genetic past, and the realities of the universe, as he draws toward his inescapable fate, which is worse than death itself.It's a challenging but excellent read for committed thinkers.

  • Talieh
    2018-09-03 15:03

    ایده ی داستان عالی بود. اما خود داستان با پایانش جوری رفتار کرده بود که انگار فقط داره یکی از صدهزار آینده ی ممکن رو شرح می ده و اهمیتی بیشتر از یک صدهزارم برای پایان اصلی داستان قائل نشده بود. درسته، زمان حقیقتا یک سیکله و فقط یک سیکل می تونه بی نهایت باشه.نحوه ی روایت داستان هم یه چیزی بین ادگار آلن پو و کافکا بود با این حال مثل اونا تاریک نبود.

  • Cymru Roberts
    2018-09-04 13:47

    “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” and “An Examination of the Work of Herbert Quain” are the stories here that stand out most to me. They comprise a genre of short story that I’ll call “apocryphal” for lack of a better term, because they outline works that don’t exist (that is, one can’t go to the library and check them out, or order them from Amazon, or can they?!). Although there may be examples of apocryphal literature before Borges, he must be the genre’s champion. The homages of later writers only cements this fact (I’m looking at you, Bolaño.) The aegis that Borges recognized with these kinds of stories is the knowledge that the idea of a story is often the best part about it. I, myself, particularly find this true of paranormal stories, horror, even mystery and true crime. It’s the thrill of the chase that matters, not the resolution. That “Herbert Quain” and “Tlön…” should take the form then of subtle detective stories makes perfect sense. Where other authors might feel the burden of having to actually write out the stories, turn them into novels, or a series of novels, and populate them with all kinds of fictive characters (wooden caricatures unless they are ascribed, Sisyphus-like, with arbitrary personalities…), Borges forgoes all that and simply assumes the book is real. (One could even say that he dares us, the reader, to assume that they are not.) Knowing, like Beckett, that character and setting are always arbitrary, and having a similar disdain for their wanton creation, all is excised but the idea, and thus we can get straight to the heart of the matter. This is why reading a five-page Borges story can seem like reading a novel; his descriptions are vast while the word count is small. That the essence of these stories is yet another question, posed by another “author”, ad infinitum, is all part of the Borgesian labyrinth; that we are given a few sparse details to whet our interest and keep us reading can be attributed to Professor J.L.’s politeness.

  • Sarah
    2018-09-18 11:05

    “This web of time – the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other through the centuries – embraces every possibility. We do not exist in most of them. In some you exist and not I, while in others I do, and you do not.”

  • Sachroon
    2018-08-27 09:38

    近期忙碌后终于看完的一本。若是以往,大概会情绪波动很大吧。那些背后的深意,是现实,是虚幻,是理想,是世间。但现在,心脏的存在感却告知着自己,这没什么,只是人间而已。

  • Jimmy Ele
    2018-08-30 14:41

    I was a bit torn as to how to rate this work of Borges. On the one hand it contains the awe inspiring "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" as well as "The Library of Babel", "The Garden of Forking Paths", "The Circular Ruins", and the "The Approach to Al-Mutasim". On the other hand it suffered from the pedantic overly detailed works that go by the names of "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote", "A Survey of the Works of Herbert Quain", and "The Lottery In Babylon". In the end, the amazingness of those first five works previously mentioned were enough to propel this collection to a 4 star status.

  • Miquixote
    2018-09-17 11:41

    a novel that can be read in multiple ways, a hypertext novel... in 1941, before the computer.so this guy Borges invented hypertext novels, no mean feat...but he also developed a theory of the universe based on that kind of novel.So he inspired new media scholars...Not just a spy narrative, "The Garden of Forking Paths", talks about a labyrinth that folds back upon itself in infinite regression", asking the reader to "become aware of all the possible choices we might make."choose your own adventure but much more elaborate, like the book which Borges suggests to be the labyrinth, ("Every one imagined two works; to no one did it occur that the book and the maze were one and the same thing...the confusion of the novel suggested to me that it was the maze" in a sense of how the site offers different approaches to how you may interpret the information provided, yet you're not trapped in the dilemma of choosing one and eliminating others; you may choose to unfold all possibilities. You "create, in this way, diverse futures, diverse times which themselves also proliferate and fork" (Wardrip-Fruin, 33).Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort write: "Our use of computers is ... based on the visions of those who like Borges—pronouncing [The Garden of Forking Paths] from the growing dark of his blindness—saw those courses that future artists, scientists and hackers might take."

  • Mikhail Ignatev
    2018-09-06 14:05

    Казалось бы - я-то куда, этот рассказ комментировать. Но - пустите, я скажу! Бывают такие книжки, которые не надо читать, достаточно прочесть ПРО них, знать, о чём они, какие в них идеи изложены (порой и правда весьма здоровские). Тут идея известна ВСЕМ: время, знаете, ветвится, и в каждой точке мы САМИ выбирает тот вариант реальности, который нам ближе. НО!! рассказ-то всё равно бьёт НАПОВАЛ. Последние две строки - как ослепительная разгадка!Плюс, конечно, ряд фирменных парадоксов вроде того, какое (единственное!) слово нельзя использовать в ребусе, отгадка в котором - в р е м я.

  • Elvis
    2018-09-24 14:56

    About to cry and moan. After reading that. No reason. Drowning in the flood of tears and regrets. Long to go, but fear to go.

  • Jessie Gaston
    2018-09-24 12:49

    v together collection of stories

  • Yafei
    2018-09-10 10:57

    博尔赫斯的书是个巨大的迷宫,复杂且无限,没有出口.而我,才刚刚在入口处徘徊.

  • Harry Doble
    2018-09-21 08:40

    Jorge Luis Borges is a writer who came to my attention at just about the right time for me. Three quarters of the way through majoring in literature during my Arts degree, his stories spoke to the excitement of all the new ideas buzzing around my head as well as the creeping influence of philosophical scepticism brought on by my studies in philosophy. A librarian during his lifetime, Borges took flashes of inspiration from his esoteric knowledge of classical and antiquarian literature to write short stories that are characterised as much by their high level of allusiveness as their brevity. Equally influenced by science fiction, fantasy, and mystery progenitors like H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Allen Poe, and G.K. Chesterton, here was a writer who could spin genre fiction that was both erudite and literary.One recurring theme in Borges is that he often wrote stories about fictional books. In the words of the man himself:"The composition of vast books is a laborious and impoverishing extravagance. To go on for five hundred pages developing an idea whose perfect oral exposition is possible in a few minutes! A better course of procedure is to pretend that these books already exist, and then to offer a resume, a commentary." The Garden of Forking Paths is one of his better known stories in this vein. It is the story of Yu Tsun, an English professor and Chinese spy in the British countryside coerced into working for the German government against his will. With his cover blown and the British soldier Captain Richard Madden on his tail, Yu Tsun hatches a desperate plan to communicate an important secret he has learned to Germany. I don’t want to spoil the ending for those who haven’t read it, but the twist is brilliant. The bare bones of the plot could make for a taut spy thriller on its own, but what makes this particular story exceptional is how through the inclusion of his book within a book Borges effortlessly transforms the narrative into a conversation about time, determinism, and free will. Yu Tsun is convinced of his inevitable death, represented by the figure of Richard Madden, and the irrevocable nature of the crime he is about to commit:“I foresee that man will resign himself each day to more undertakings: soon there will be no one but warriors and brigands; I give them this counsel: The author of an atrocious undertaking ought to imagine that he has already accomplished it, ought to impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past.”Yu Tsun appears to envision himself trapped within a framework of deterministic cause and effect. In typical Borges style, however, there is a paradoxical element here as it is a result of being willed into existence. Things only get stranger as he appears to be led by the strands of fate to the home of Dr. Stephen Albert, a reclusive sinologist who is a scholar of an ancient relative of Yu Tsun’s, Ts'ui Pên. Ts'ui Pên was a governor of his native province in China, a learned scholar, chess player, poet, and calligrapher. He retired into seclusion claiming that he was going to create a book and construct a labyrinth, only to have left behind a confusing pile of writings after his death. Dr. Albert tells Yu Tsun how he has been studying the mess of contradictory drafts for years and claims to have unlocked the secret: the book is the labyrinth, and in it, Ts'ui Pên has tried to apply a very particular conception of time to his writing, where each moment splits into every one of its infinite possibilities, all existing parallel, side by side. This theory has the effect of disorientating Yu Tsun, who carries out his plan regardless. The ending is a straightforward consequence of his actions and makes it seem as if within the diegesis of the narrative there is what David M. Baulch calls a 'single valued' reality (with one present moment, as opposed to multivalued, which has parallel present moments) and Dr. Albert’s research was just navel gazing with no real relevance to events. The mystery of its significance is further compounded in that the story is presented as an edited statement that starts in media res with the first two pages of the document missing, used by a semi-concealed narrator to shed light on an historian’s version of an unremarkable historical event. There are some clear metafiction aspects that draw attention to the artifice of the narrative in this way as the reader is forced to question which narrator is the dominant voice here. Is it the person challenging the historian? Is it the editor of Yu Tsun’s statement after he gets arrested? Is it Yu Tsun himself? This puts doubt not only on the veracity of Yu Tsun’s story but also testimony itself, and by extension, calls into question the methods we use to construct history, which incidentally, assume a single valued timeline that travels from a single point in the past until now. If Ts'ui Pên’s theory of time is indeed true, as Post-Newtonian accounts of time such as the Copenhagen interpretation and the many worlds interpretation of quantum events suggest, what would this mean for the practice of history? It is a fascinating question, but not one I can claim to solve. A question that is more approachable is what Ts'ui Pên’s theory of time means for literary criticism. According to Baulch, much like how Ts'ui Pên’s book within a book makes sense to Dr. Albert after he learns to analyse it in a way that accounts for a multivalued construction of narrative reality, perhaps there are instances where this is a necessary approach in real life literature. Baulch identifies one in William Blake’s unfinished poem Vala, or The Four Zoas. While in many ways Blake’s Romanticism and Borges’s modernism couldn’t be more different, The Four Zoas appears to feature a similar multivalued account of time in relation to detailing creation myths, going so far as to repeat the same chapter twice with slight alterations just like the one that appeared in Ts'ui Pên’s novel. In response to Northrop Frye calling The Four Zoas “the greatest abortive masterpiece in English literature”, Baulch claims this is because it doesn’t fit into the single valued assumptions of Frye’s reading strategy. The Four Zoas is older, but in the fragmented temporal space of modernism and postmodernism, it makes sense to consider that a multivalued conception of time could be of enormous benefit in analysing particular works.This is just a sample of some of the complexities that can be pulled out of this eleven page short story. In terms of writing style I’m sure that some nuance is missing that can only be found in the original Spanish, but the English translation by Donald A. Yates in the Modern Classics version of Labyrinths I own is fine. In detailing the inner state of his consciousness, Yu Tsun’s dread is made strange by the lack of portents and warnings in the seemingly calm procession of time and space around him. To me, this tone is perhaps the most striking aspect of the story. It also touches on a strong theme of racism and nationalism in the opposition of Yu Tsun and Richard Madden. Both are expatriates who act as agents for countries to whom they have no loyalty for. In one particularly poignant passage, Yu Tsun reflects on the insanity of this:“Absorbed in these illusory images, I forgot my destiny of one pursued. I felt myself to be, for an unknown period of time, an abstract perceiver of the world. The vague, living countryside, the moon, the remains of the day worked on me, as well as the slope of the road which eliminated any possibility of weariness. The afternoon was intimate, infinite. The road descended and forked among the now confused meadows. A high-pitched, almost syllabic music approached and receded in the shifting of the wind, dimmed by leaves and distance. I thought that a man can be an enemy of other men, of the moments of other men, but not of a country: not of fireflies, words, gardens, streams of water, sunsets.”The Garden of Forking Paths is a masterpiece. For all its philosophical underpinnings, it manages to be compact, tight and suspenseful. It is about as complete as a short story can be. 10/10Baulch, David M. (2003). Time, narrative, and the multiverse: post-Newtonian narrative in Borges’s “The Garden of Forking Paths” and Blake’s Vala or the Four Zoas. The Comparatist. 27. 56-78.Borges, Jorge Luis. Preface. (1962). Ficciones. New York City: Grove Press.Maurois, André. Preface. (2000). Labyrinths. London: Penguin Classics.

  • Matt Cannon
    2018-09-20 09:59

    This story was good and short. It involved concepts of the multiverse and how all possible scenarios happen simultaneously. In this story we learn of the power of decisions and the perspective that our lives fork out in multiple directions. In some versions of the story a life goes one direction, in another it goes a different direction. The story was interesting and was entertaining too.

  • Joe Santoli
    2018-09-11 10:59

    A really cool short story that, for me, opened up after an english class.

  • Nikhil
    2018-09-10 07:56

    JL Borges was involved in the war, even before birth. Both Maternal and Paternal sides of his family participated in Argentina war of Independence. His mother came from a traditional Uruguayan family and often spoke of their heroic actions. His Grandfather was a soldier of Buenos Aires army. These associations left him thinking great about the sacrifices in war. However, he felt ashamed as he knew he would never be a soldier because was a bookish person and not a man of action.The author started by telling about the attack against the Serre-Montauban line by British divisions during world war 1st. Then he takes readers into the fabric of Hit and Runs chase and beautifully depicted emotions and fear of death and happiness in outwitting his death on one occasion. He reflected in a simple manner that Nothing happens to a man in Past or future, but precisely now.Moreover, I was impressed by the author's attention to details. His focus on the present and mentioning of things like Handkerchief, 2 shillings, and a crown can be a takeaway for any future author in the present. Although, he believed himself to be a Cowardly man but his wish to prove to his chief that a yellow man could save his armies triggered him to be a man who took action. His consideration of action into adventure involved serious imagination of Labyrinth, the Garden, and creation of a vivid Imagery of branches, Low, full moon.A reader, at some point in time during reading the book, realizes: he is being taken into a parallel ride of Labyrinths and it becomes difficult to distinguish between reality and illusion. He takes the readers, with him, to the Garden of Forking Paths. His explanation of forking paths as a mystery of different contemporary times sets him apart from the category of conventional writers. Once in the book, he narrated Tsui Pe. I am withdrawing to write a book. And another time, I am withdrawing to construct a labyrinth and give the audience to find out that Is the Book and Labyrinth the same thing?According to me, the story is also a Labyrinth. At some point, the author leaves for the readers to think of the various future garden of forking paths and at some times, he himself thinks of the book as nothing other than a cyclical volume. A book whose last page is identical to the first page. In spite of being unable to decode every sentence in a book, I felt the happiness of decoding of decoding that he is like other philosophers, who are trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe. nevertheless, I accepted this metaphor and then tried to have some fun with the universe he has created.In Summation, the book is a Puzzle which shows many forking paths as Yu Tsun, the traitor seeks out a way to expose the city where war is going to start. The way is the author's journey to the garden of forking paths. Albeit, very difficult to read, difficult to follow and to distinguish between the voice of author and voice of the character, between reality and illusion, between all the world that the author creates, the book is interesting nonetheless ends on a cyclical node.

  • Chris
    2018-09-04 11:46

    You know a writer's great when he has the ability to change the way you think about the world. Borges' mathematical interpretation of cosmology branches off in several directions with all the stories he writes. Some are set in the real world, but most are set in fantasy worlds, where the narrator might appear to be talking about our world at first, instead of his own. Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertiusleft me speechless. Imagine a world of immaterial things- only the thoughts and ideas of geniuses, with no actions whatsoever. It's like a representation of what the afterlife might look like on the Mental Plane of metaphyisical philosophy.The Circular Ruinsis like the idea behindThe NeverEnding Story - that our creator is imagining (or dreaming) us into existence, while we in turn dream him (or others) into existence.The Lottery of Babylonsuggests that the creator of the world leaves everything up to chance; that everything that happens, even something as insignificant as a grain of sand landing on a beach, is the result of a lottery number drawn from an infinite number of others.The Library of Babelalso plays with the idea of infinite possibilities. It suggests that the narrator's universe is made up of an infinite number of rooms where books can be arranged in an infinite number of letters. I sure wouldn't want the daunting task of doing research in that library!The idea behindThe Garden of Forking Pathsprobably makes the most sense out of all of them. It says that time is an infinite fractal of constantly diverging paths; that everything that has happened and couldpossiblyhappen exists in our universe and ones parallel to it. This seems to predict some of the new multiverse theories in cosmological physics, though I don't think he ever studied it.Borges was a straight up genius. Even though his stories are fast-paced, he leaves enough on the table for you to understand, though not always completely!

  • Clayton
    2018-09-14 09:45

    I can't say which translation I've read, I just found it on the Internet somewhere.What's to say of this book? It's highly interesting in that the big take-away, of course in interactivity and games-land (and especially CYOA and IF) is in particular the concept of this garden, this book, where all paths really do happen, and what do they all mean. I think a lot of visual novels tend to explore that path: you gain some meta-knowledge from having traveled all paths that you can use to get to some hidden, secret meaning that wouldn't otherwise be available to you (_Analogue: A Hate Story_ does this quite well, at least. I understand _Hatoful Boyfriend_ has something similar going on).Anyway, that's an interesting tidbit inside it's own framing story; and it's a comment on the framing story, also.The thing that gets me is the big numeral I at the beginning. Are we looking at a page from within the supposed book? Where are the other options? So many questions that appear tantalizingly there. Part of me hopes there's an answer, that there's some secret--perhaps encrypted in the original text, that provides some extra meaning, some extra framing, some tool of navigating the supposed labyrinth and story.Anyway, definitely worth the five minutes of your time if you've heard of this and haven't read it.

  • Trever Polak
    2018-09-21 13:50

    [2.5] I read this technically because I read part one ofFicciones. I don't know, I get why people are gaga for Borges but I felt like he was trying to pack as much knowledge into these stories as possible that the stories themselves became secondary matter. He's one of those writers, in my opinion, whose influence on other writers outweighs the work of the writer themselves. "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" was enjoyable only upon a second read, and "The Library of Babel" was the only one that grabbed me right away. "An Examination of the Work of Herbert Quain" felt like it was trying too hard to be "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote", which didn't get me either. Anyway, sorry all, Borges isn't my guy.

  • Claudia
    2018-09-20 09:05

    This is a collection of 8 stories. The Garden of Forking Paths is the last one. I'm glad I read this. It's a war story, of how a captain feels that's been forced to spy. His emotions are all too human and how beautiful as he steps through complex riddles and findings. In the end we a presented to a tricky twist! Honourable mention. A quote that's so current and relevant to our times:"I foresee that mankind will resign itself more and more fully every day to more and more horrendous undertakings; soon there will be nothing but warriors and brigands. I give them this piece of advice: He who is to perform a horrendous act should imagine to himself that it is already done, should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past."In all this is a very well written and thought out book. Read it. You will like it. I did. 3.5 stars.

  • Camila
    2018-09-12 13:40

    "El jardín de senderos que se Bifurcan" abarca el obsesivo tema del tiempo, como el ser humano se pierde en el laberinto, lo infinito que son los caminos y lo que mas me gusto: Borges refuto a Newton y a Schopenhauer, su concepto de "Tiempo" gravitaba en la idea de que este es cíclico y no uniforme como afirmaban las dos autoridades nombradas.Son una cantidad de detalles que tiene el cuento, lo mas impactante de el autor es que plasma en los escritos su alter ego, siempre esta un personaje que posee sus rasgos y erudición.

  • Mateo R.
    2018-09-01 07:59

    Intertextualidad:Menciones directas:* Historia de la Guerra Europea, de Basil Liddell Hart.* Anales, de Cornelio Tácito.* Sueño en el pabellón rojo (紅樓夢), de Cao Xueqin.* Enciclopedia Yonglè (永樂大典), encargada por el emperador Yonglè de la dinastía Ming.* Las mil y una noches, anónimo.* Mención a los escritores Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Isaac Newton, Arthur Schopenhauer.Indirecta:?* Lugares: Staffordshire, Inglaterra, Reino Unido.* Ambientes: Tren.* Eventos: Primera Guerra Mundial (1914-18).

  • Pagulane
    2018-09-23 08:59

    Jorge Luis Borges, Hargnevate teede aed, 1956 ilmunud, tõlk 1972 LRSisaldab Borges'i kaheksat novelli."Roscommonis suri Herbert Quain; ilma erilise imestuseta konstateerisin, et "The Times Literary Supplementil" jätkus pieteeti vaevalt pooleveeruliseks nekroloogiks, kus pole ainsatki tunnustavat epiteeti, mida mõni adverb kohe ei korrigeeriks (või tõsise kahtluse alla ei seaks)." /54, Ülevaade Herbert Quaini loomingust/Argentiina kirjanduse vanameister, kaotas lugemise tõttu nägemise. Hea lugemine, soovitan.

  • Andrew Arias
    2018-09-26 07:48

    The Garden of Forking Paths is one of the greatest fiction novels of all time about the greatest fiction novel of all time which suggests their are infinite number of 'forking paths' which stories can take as well as humans within real life. The book shows many forking paths as Yu Tsun the traitor seeks out a way to expose the city where the war is going to start.

  • Edward Flaherty
    2018-08-27 10:03

    Mystified by the concept of a labyrinth of time in an eternal book, using the symbology of a garden. Left me a bit empty; but I liked the challenge. The story was compelling, as was the setting…a man facing death, discussing an interpretation of life; the man with the gun is coming.