Borges, the precursor


De Pedro Ricoy R (2007) Borges, the precursor. Babel. Revue internationale de la traduction / International Journal of Translation; Babel, 53 (3), pp. 260-276.

Jorge Luis Borges is renowned not only as one of the masters of the Spanish letters in the twentieth century, but also as a major figure in world literature. He was a prolific author, whose vast production has been the subject of many treatises and discussions that, for the most part, focus on his literary, philosophical, aesthetic and ideological preoccupations. There is, however, a crucial aspect of his work (closely related to all these concerns) that has received little scholarly attention until recent times: translation. For Borges, writing, reading and translating were intimately interconnected and the way in which he conceptualised all three acts led him to intuit and, in some cases, outline some of the principles that would become the nucleus of twentiethcentury translation theory. This paper examines Jorge Luis Borges’s understanding of translation (which, for him, was an instinct, even a compulsion) with reference to theories that were developed in subsequent years. The aim is to show how Borges anticipated many of the notions that would become central to translation scholarship. In order to achieve this, links will be established between three critical essays by Borges (“Las dos maneras de traducir”, “Las versiones homéricas” and “Los traductores de las 1001 Noches”) and selected pieces of his fiction, on the one hand, and translation theories, on the other.

Linguistics and Language; Communication; Language and Linguistics

Babel. Revue internationale de la traduction / International Journal of Translation; Babel: Volume 53, Issue 3

FundersHeriot-Watt University
Publication date31/12/2007
Publication date online18/02/2008
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company