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Borges and Kafka : Sons and Writers (Hardcover) (Sarah Roger)

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Sarah Roger investigates Jorge Luis Borges's development as an author in light of Franz Kafka's influence, and in consideration of Borges's relationship with his father, Jorge Guillermo Borges (Borges pere, a failed author). Borges believed that much of Kafka's writing derived from his personal experiences, particularly his relationship with his father. This book looks at how reading Kafka helped Borges mediate and make productive use of his own relationship with his father, and it offers a thorough analysis of Borges pere's writing, which is supplemented by an appendix that reprints Borges pere's poetry for the first time. Borges and Kafka also provides extensive analysis of Kafka's presence in Borges's critical writing, his translations, and the stories that he modelled on Kafka. Particular attention is paid to the concepts that Borges identified as Kafka's obsessions: subordination, infinity, and hierarchical relationships, which Borges referred to as the "patria potestad." Roger's analysis is accompanied by an annotated bibliography documenting every mention of Kafka in Borges's writing and a list of every Kafka text Borges read. Kafka's influence is especially evident in the stories where Borges was openly imitating Kafka--"La loteria en Babilonia" (1941), "La biblioteca de Babel" (1941), and "El Congreso" (1971)--but it features throughout Ficciones. Reading Borges's writing in light of his interest in Kafka demonstrates his focus not just on the individual's subordinate place in an infinite hierarchy but also on the repercussions these circumstances had for a struggling author like Borges, who was seeking to define himself through his writing.

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