Borges and the Literary Marketplace How Editorial Practices Shaped Cosmopolitan Reading Nora C. Benedict

Publication date:
09 Nov 2021
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm
35 b-w illus.
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A fascinating history of Jorge Luis Borges’s efforts to revolutionize and revitalize literature in Latin America

Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986) stands out as one of the most widely regarded and inventive authors in world literature. Yet the details of his employment history throughout the early part of the twentieth century, which foreground his efforts to develop a worldly reading public, have received scant critical attention. From librarian and cataloguer to editor and publisher, this writer emerges as entrenched in the physical minutiae and social implications of the international book world.
Drawing on years of archival research coupled with bibliographical analysis, this book explains how Borges’s more general involvement in the publishing industry influenced not only his formation as a writer, but also global book markets and reading practices in world literature. In this way it tells the story of Borges’s profound efforts to revolutionize and revitalize literature in Latin America through his varying jobs in the publishing industry.

Nora C. Benedict is assistant professor of Spanish and Digital Humanities in the Romance Languages Department at the University of Georgia.

“Nora Benedict's illuminating book is an essential contribution to the understanding of Borges' relationship to the written word. The portrait of Borges as writer and reader is now made complete with Benedict's exploration of Borges as editor.”—Alberto Manguel, Director of the Center for Research into the History of Reading

“Offering us a complex view of Borges’s creative process and drawing on extensive archival work, Benedict demonstrates how his fictions and ideas are interconnected with the materiality of the book and the networks of cultural institutions. This is an essential book for specialists in Borges as well as in modern literature.”—Graciela Montaldo, Columbia University

“Using a bibliographical lens, Benedict brings into sharp focus an innovative view of Borges and his work, as not only one of the world’s great twentieth-century authors, but also as contributor, reviewer, anthologist, editor, and publisher. The result is a fresh and richer understanding of Borges and his accomplishments.”—Michael Winship, University of Texas at Austin

“Benedict’s impressive archival, print media, and network analyses demonstrate how Borges’s multiple roles as writer, editor, translator, anthologizer, and publisher charted new ways of publishing and reading, from the Argentine book world to the global world of books.”—Marcy Schwartz, author of Public Pages: Reading along the Latin American Streetscape

“In this important book, based on painstaking research, Nora Benedict sheds important new light on Borges’ activities in the Argentine publishing industry in the middle decades of the twentieth century, when that country was dominant in the world of Spanish language publishing. Highly recommended.”—Daniel Balderston, Director of the Borges Center at the University of Pittsburgh