Read A Universal History of Infamy by Jorge Luis Borges Norman Thomas di Giovanni Online


In his writing, Borges always combined high seriousness with a wicked sense of fun. Here he reveals his delight in re-creating (or making up) colorful stories from the Orient, the Islamic world, and the Wild West, as well as his horrified fascination with knife fights, political and personal betrayal, and bloodthirsty revenge. Spark-ling with the sheer exuberant pleasure oIn his writing, Borges always combined high seriousness with a wicked sense of fun. Here he reveals his delight in re-creating (or making up) colorful stories from the Orient, the Islamic world, and the Wild West, as well as his horrified fascination with knife fights, political and personal betrayal, and bloodthirsty revenge. Spark-ling with the sheer exuberant pleasure of story-telling, this collection marked the emergence of an utterly distinctive literary voice....

Title : A Universal History of Infamy
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ISBN : 9780140039597
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 137 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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A Universal History of Infamy Reviews

  • Glenn Russell
    2019-03-11 04:39

    From his early years the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges lived among books and languages, classical literature from many civilizations and cultures: Chinese, Persian, Nordic, Spanish, to name several. His greatest childhood memory was his father's library; he was reading Shakespeare in English at age 11; by the time he was an adult, Borges turned his mind into one vast library. Therefore, it is a bit ironic this bookish man chose to write an entire collection of tales about men of sheer action and where the action is immorality, wickedness, injustice and evil. And ‘A Universal History of Iniquity’ is a jewel. Unlike Borges's baroque writings, these nine short tales are straight-forward and make for easy reading. For the purposes of this review and to convey the flavor of the book, here are quotes with brief comments on two of the tales.The Disinterested Killer Bill HarriganAt the very beginning, Borges writes, "The almost-child who died at the age of twenty-one owing a debt to human justice for the deaths of twenty-one men - "not counting Mexicans." Yes, this is a tale of Billy the Kid. Iniquity, indeed; Borges gives us several vivid, memorable images of what it is like to kill for the hell of it. For instance, one notorious Mexican gunslinger and outlaw walks into a bar, a shot rings out, (no need for a second shot) and Billy picked up the conversation where he left off. And then in the words of Borges, "That night Billy lays his blanket out next to the dead man and sleeps - ostentatiously - until morning."Monk Eastman, Purveyor of IniquitiesHere is a description of noted personalities from this urban tale, "The chaotic story takes place in the cellars of old breweries turned into Negro tenements, in a seedy, three-story New York City filed with gangs of thugs like the Swamp Angels, who would swarm out of the labyrinthine sewers on marauding expeditions; gangs of cutthroats like the Daybreak boys, who recruited precocious murderers of ten and eleven years old; brazen, solitary giants like the Plug Uglies, whose stiff bowler hats stuffed with wood and whose vast shirttails blowing in the wind of the slums might provoke a passerby's improbable smile, but who carried huge bludgeons in their right hands and long, narrow pistols; and gangs of street toughs like the Dead Rabbit gang, who entered into battle under the banner of their mascot impaled upon a pike. Its characters were men like Dandy Johnny Dolan, famed for his brilliantined forelock, the monkey-headed walking sticks he carried, and the delicate copper pick he wore on his thumb to gouge out his enemies' eyes: men like Kit Burns, who was known to bite the head off live rats; and men like blind Danny Lyons, a towheaded kid with huge dead eyes who pimped for three whores that proudly walked the streets for him."I have included the long quote above for a specific reason: Borges was fascinated by the image and concept of labyrinths his entire life. However, such a labyrinth of unending perversion and violence was one Borges would never himself experience directly; rather, as a bookish, literary man, Borges entered this twisted human sewer through his imagination. And please keep in mind Borges was strongly influenced by the nineteenth century German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer. The nastiness and brutality of life outlined by Schopenhauer made an indelible impression on the sensitive author.My guess is anyone reading this review is light-years away from entering a world where teenagers kill for the hell of it or cutthroat gangs hack and slice one another to pieces under the banner of an impaled dog or rabbit. But such worlds existed aplenty in the 19th and early 20th century and they still exist today. How to experience these violent worlds for yourself? One easy answer: let Jorge Luis Borges give you a guided tour.Young Jorge Luis Borges - Can you imagine young Borges as part of the New York City kids gang in the photo at the top?

  • Mike Puma
    2019-03-13 05:12

    Briefly: A catalog, a biographical dictionary of vile people with a worldwide range, real and/or imagined (imagined, certainly, even the real). This owes a debt to Marcel Schwob’s Imaginary Lives and to which J. Rodolfo Wilcox owes a debt for having enabled The Temple of Iconoclasts (which I’ll now return to liking quite a lot), and more recently, providing premise for Roberto Bolaño’s Nazi Literature in the Americas (which I read first, bassackwards, I).4 stars for a fun, creepy read, made more enjoyable with the inclusion of a mini-bio of Billy the Kid. (Americans like to think our bad guys are as bad as anyone else’s)

  • Cecily
    2019-03-17 01:31

    "Reading... is an activity subsequent to writing - more resigned, more civil, more intellectual" (the closing words to the preface of the first edition).I have the Complete 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 first, published in 1935.I had read several profound and passionate reviews by friends, and felt the building lure of Borges, aided by a growing awareness of how influential he was to many other writers. I came to Borges with high expectations. I'm glad I had first dipped into several pieces from later volumes (thanks for the suggestions, Steve) before reading these. Although I give this only 3*, I'm assured of greater (much greater) things to come.This is a collection of semi-fictionalised, but mostly straightforward accounts of exotic and infamous criminals around the world, plus one story that is not based on fact. Borges describes them as Baroque exercises, bordering on self-parody, and partially inspired by G K Chesterton. He defines Baroque as "the final stage in all art, when art flaunts and squanders its resources". They're well-written, and quite original in many ways, but crime fiction and biography are not favourite genres of mine, hence only 3* for my enjoyment. The Cruel Redeemer of Lazarus MorellMorell is a poor white man, with a scam to help slaves escape plantations to freedom. I know that labyrinths recur throughout Borges' work, and the first mention is on the second page, in relation to the Mississippi delta.The Improbable Imposter Tom Castro 5*This story reminded me of Patricia Highsmith's Talented Mr Ripley. Tom is an opportunist, who with the encouragement of a friend, presents himself as the long-lost son of a titled lady. Part of the plan is that he looks SO unlike the other man, he couldn't possibly be an impostor. "In a few days she had recaptured the recollections her son had invoked."The Widow Ching - PirateEarly Chinese girl power and a pirate code (based on a real one) that prohibits rape. Plausible pseudo-history - then dragons (which turn out to be kites). Monk Eastman, Purveyor of IniquitiesA New York gangster, with eventual connections to the Kelly Gang, via "labyrinthine sewers".The Disinterested Killer Bill HarriganBilly the Kid frequents labyrinths and by 14, kills for mindless thrills (and sometimes other rewards). "He never fully measured up to the legend of himself."The Uncivil Teacher of Court Etiquette Kotsuké no SukéFor Samuri, honour can mean being "granted the privilege of suicide".Hakim, The Masked Dyer of Merv"The earth we inhabit is an error, an incompetent parody. Mirrors and paternity are abominable because they multiply and affirm it." (This is paraphrased in the truly wonderful Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, which is the first story of the next volume.)Man on Pink CornerThis is a first-person story of knife fighters, not based on on a real person, and the translator's notes point out that the "pink" of the title refers to a rough area of Buenos Aires, and the lack of definite pronoun conjures a painting (perhaps Edward Hopper). In the final sentence, the unnamed narrator makes it clear he's telling the story to Borges - an early nod to the way Borges later blends levels of reality.There is another version of this in Brodie’s Report. Both include the line “Rosendo, I think you’re needing this” as a woman hands him his own knife, from up his sleeve.Et CeteraThis section contains even shorter pieces, some of which probably presage later works:A Theologian In DeathA theologian in a mysterious and unfamilar house of many rooms is in denial of his own death. Maybe.The Chamber of StatuesA fairytale-like allegory of death, via series of locked rooms, from 1000 nights.The Story of the Two DreamersThe power of dreams.The Wizard that was Made to Wait 5*Fairytale repetition: a wizard teaches magic to a priest on the promise of reward for his son, perpetually postponed. The Mirror of InkVisions in a different sort of mirror. Rorschach might approve.Mahomed's DoubleLots of them! In the light of Rushdie and Charlie Hebdo, I'm not sure this would go unchallenged if published for the first time now.Index of SourcesAnother layer of fiction, or at least blurring the boundaries. Quotes• “Onto an alluvium of beastlike hopelessness and African fear there had sifted the words of the Scripture.”• "The female soil, worn and haggard from bearing that impatient culture's get, was left barren."• Facial "features of an infinite vagueness".• Writing "free of any scruples as to the way words ought to be spelled".• Kosher "calves whose throats had been slit with righteousness".• "History (which, like a certain motion picture director, tells its story in discontinuous images)"• Leaving a bar "in the drunken dizziness of the tango, like they were drowning in that tango".

  • Ian
    2019-02-25 02:21

    "In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing." Oscar WildeExercises in Style These stories are fascinating exercises in style.They effectively document the development of Borges' style at a time when "he was a shy sort of man who could not bring himself to write short stories, and so amused himself by changing and distorting (sometimes without aesthetic justification) the stories of other men." Matter of Fact As Borges said in an earlier Preface, "the stories are not, nor do they attempt to be, psychological."I assume he meant they weren't concerned with the internal consciousness and motivation of the characters. Borges was primarily concerned with external facts, in effect, what could be witnessed or seen by those present.Only, in relation to writing, an author can help a reader to be vicariously present, and therefore to become a witness to what had been related by the author, or at least the narrator.Good, Compliant Readers Borges isn't interested in sincerity, because that can be faked.Rather, he's interested in fact and factuality (and, ironically, how that can be faked). One might expect that matters of fact would be truthful and undeniable. If you write matter of factly, then the reader will believe you. Borges mentions that reading "is an activity subsequent to writing - more resigned, more civil, more intellectual."It has the benefit of the writing, which necessarily has preceded it. The reader tends to give primacy to the writer, and therefore is both less sceptical and more trusting.However, when the author or narrator decides to play a game with the reader, then the reading can be no more authentic than the writing. An author or narrator can make a reader complicit in their fraud, their forgery of truth.An Impostor Forges His Style These exercises in style, therefore, witness Borges mimicking and constructing styles of fiction and non-fiction that give the appearance of truth, veracity and authenticity.If he fakes the style of non-fiction well enough, we will assume that he is sincere, or at least as sincere as history is capable of.Of course, it's not enough that we believe that what is factual is true. Borges must make us believe that what is not true or factual is true as well.He achieves this by setting his untruths in other people's truths. If he does this seamlessly enough, we won't be able to tell the difference.Borges, therefore, starts even this work as an impostor, or at least as someone who is interested in the methodology of imposture.The Virtues of Unlikeness It's a game, of course. As well as a challenge. Having mastered likeness, the challenge is to embrace the virtues of unlikeness. The more improbable the imposture, the greater the game. How much can Borges get away with? The paradox being that the success of the likeness on the same page might draw attention to and undermine the unlikeness. Still, Borges believes that the dilemma can be overcome with greater, rather than less, audacity:"Bogle knew that a perfect facsimile of the beloved Roger Charles Tichborne was impossible to find; he knew as well that any similarities he might achieve would only underscore certain inevitable differences. He therefore gave up the notion of likeness altogether. He sensed that the vast ineptitude of his pretence would be a convincing proof that there was no fraud, for no fraud would ever have so flagrantly flaunted features that might so easily have convinced."Man on Pink Corner Having eschewed psychology, having forged the appearance of likeness, having melded likeness and unlikeness, Borges was now ready to write "Man on Pink Corner", what seems to be a genuinely fictitious short story (or is it?).Presumably, nothing in fiction need be truly factual, although the author might seek to persuade us that it is. Fiction is, by definition, a pretence.If Borges could master fraud, was he now ready to master pretence?Some guide to Borges' modus operandi is revealed in the first sentence:"Imagine you bringing up Francisco Real that way, out of the clear blue sky, him dead and gone and all."Unlike the earlier stories, there is a first person narrator. The subject is Real, if not necessarily real. He is ostensibly invented out of nothing, brought up out of the clear blue sky. And the inventor is the second person, "you", perhaps the reader, though it could equally be Borges himself or at least "Borges".An Imaginary PrimerOur role, the role of the reader, is to be the agent who complies with the instruction implicit in the first word, "imagine".Borges entrusts us to be "more resigned, more civil, more intellectual." We have to be, in order to participate in and enjoy his labyrinthine games of the imagination. Needless to say, Borges is an adept teacher, and this is both his and our first primer. What's remarkable is that we learn to read as we watch him teach himself how to write.Of course, it was only the beginning!SOUNDTRACK:Deborah Conway - "It's Only The Beginning"

  • Luís C.
    2019-03-24 01:25

    Most of the stories that make up the Universal History of Infamy (an intentionally emphatic title) are imaginary biographies of historical figures such as Billy the Kid, Monk Eastman Gang leader or pseudo-Muslim prophet Hakim al-Moqannâ.Under the apparent grandiloquence hiding in fact humble and pleasant stories. They are almost all written in the same style, abusing long enumerations and pompous and superfluous adjectives. A style that Borges describes in the prologue of baroque. Their about otherwise infamous characters at least unsavory, violent, forgers, thieves, but some still have good qualities such as honor or courage. The final story, The Man in the corner of the pink wall is different, since it refers, apparently, to any specific historical character and the style is much more slang. Finally, the History of Infamy, who led us around the world, ends with a dozen small fictions all (a few lines, a few pages), stories of rewrites picked here and there by Borges, especially in the Book of the Thousand and One Nights.In "History of Eternity" met a patchwork of tests that have little to them, and even less with the Universal History of Infamy, even if they can give, at the turn, some indications on the style fictions of the first part. Of the seven trials, three are devoted to time and eternity. One quickly traces the history of the linear eternity, the Platonic idea to Christian doctrines. If Borges is wary vis-à-vis the concept, it does not challenge intuition. His conclusion: "Life is too poor not to be, too, immortal. But we do not even possess the certainty of poverty, because time, easily refutable in the field of sensation, is not in that of the intelligence, the essence of which the concept of succession seems inseparable. "The other two trials refer more time to Nietzsche and his theory of eternal recurrence and, more broadly, to the cyclical vision of time.Two other small trials have to subject the metaphor, one on kenningar of Scandinavian poetry and the influence they have had in compound words of Anglo-Saxon languages. Another compares different translations of the Arabian Nights. Finally two notes complete this eclectic work, one is a kind of review of a book that does not exist, the other an analysis of the art of polemic.

  • Carla
    2019-02-26 02:28

    Talvez pelo fascínio que o Velho Oeste sempre exerceu sobre mim, o relato que mais me marcou destas universais e infamantes histórias de Borges, tenha sido "O assassino desinteressado Bill Harrigan", breve narração da atribulada e breve vida de Billy the Kid, morto aos 21 anos pelo Xerife Pat Garrett, acusado de 21 mortes "sem contar os mexicanos".

  • Zuberino
    2019-03-03 04:34

    এই বইটির বাংলা শিরোনাম করা যেতে পারে "কুখ্যাতির সার্বজনীন ইতিহাস"। কোন কোন বোদ্ধার মতে বোর্হেসের তরুণ বয়সে লেখা এই বইটির মাধ্যমেই ল্যাটিন আমেরিকান ম্যাজিক রিয়ালিজম বা যাদু-বাস্তবতার পদযাত্রা শুরু। তবে এটা সংখ্যালঘু মতামত। যাদু-বাস্তবতার ক্লাসিক উপাদান বলতে আমরা যা কিছু বুঝি, তা এখানে মোটের উপর অনুপস্থিত। এখন পর্যন্ত যাদু-বাস্তবতার পিতৃত্ব কিউবার ঔপন্যাসিক আলেহো কার্পেন্তিয়ের-এর ঘাড়েই বর্তায়, এবং "কুখ্যাতি" পড়ার পরে সেই মতামত হুট করে বদলে ফেলার কোন সঙ্গত কারণ খুঁজে পেলাম না।তবে হ্যাঁ, বিংশ শতাব্দীর সাহিত্যে ভয়ংকর প্রভাবশালী বোর্হেসের মেটা-ফিকশন এখান থেকেই শুরু। প্রকাশকের ভাষায় - "As Borges conceived it, A Universal History was to be no more than light entertainment. Yet after the book appeared in 1935, its influence on the fiction of Latin America was so profound that its publication date has become a landmark in the history of Latin American literature." জানা যায় যে বোর্হেস নিজেই এই বই নিয়ে কিছুটা সংকোচে ভুগতেন। ভূমিকায় তিনি বলছেন - "Behind the sound and fury there is nothing. The book is no more than appearance, than a surface of images; for that very reason, it may prove enjoyable. Its author was a somewhat unhappy man, but he amused himself writing it; may some echo of that pleasure reach the reader."এটা কি শুধুই বোর্হেসের বিনয়? নাকি তার বইয়ের প্রভাব সম্পর্কে কিছুটা হলেও ওয়াকিফহাল ছিলেন তিনি? বেশ ঝানু লোক ছিলেন অন্ধ বুড়ো, তাই তার বিনয়কে খুব বেশি সিরিয়াসলি না নেয়াই বোধ হয় সমীচীন। * তো কি আছে বইয়ে? ইতিহাসের পাতা থেকে মোট সাতটি গল্প ছেঁকে এনেছেন লেখক - সব কটিই কোন দুশ্চরিত্র ব্যক্তি, বা কোন কলংকজনক অধ্যায়ের বয়ান। গল্পগুলো খুব বেশি লম্বা নয় - প্রতিটি দশ পাতার মত, বা তারও কম। বিষয়বস্তুর বৈচিত্র্য লক্ষণীয় - কাউবয় গুন্ডা বিলি দ্য কিড যেমন আছে, তেমনই আছে চীনের বিখ্যাত মহিলা জলদস্যু চিং শিহ। আছে ভাওয়াল সন্ন্যাসীর মত একটি চরিত্র - ১৯শ শতকের এই ধাপ্পাবাজের নাম ছিল টম ক্যাস্ট্রো। জাপান থেকে তুলে এনেছেন "৪৭ রোনিন"-এর বিস্ময়কর সত্যি ঘটনাটি। শেষ গল্পটির নায়ক আল-মুকান্না - এর নাম আগে শুনিনি তবে মধ্য-এশিয়ায় আব্বাসীয় খেলাফত কর্তৃক ইসলামের প্রসার রুখতে চেয়েছিলেন আল-মুকান্না, ধবধবে সাদা কাপড়ে মুখ ঢেকে নিজেকেই ঘোষনা করেছিলেন ঈশ্বর। ১৯৩৩-৩৪ সালে বুয়েনোস আইরেসের এক দৈনিকে এই সাতটি গল্প প্রথম ছেপেছিলেন বোর্হেস। পরে সবগুলো একত্রিত করে এক মলাটে প্রকাশ করেন - তার প্রথম গল্পগ্রন্থ। শুরুর দিকের একটি মৌলিক গল্পও আছে - "Street Corner Man"। এছাড়াও বইয়ের শেষ অংশে অন্তর্ভুক্ত করেছেন গোটা আষ্টেক স্বল্পদৈর্ঘ্য fable বা fantasy। *১৯৬১ সালে ফোর্মেন্তোর পুরস্কার জিতে রাতারাতি বিশ্বখ্যাতি জোটে বোর্হেসের কপালে। তদ্দিনে তিনি অন্ধ, বার্ধক্যের দোরগোড়ায়। তারপরে আরো অর্ধশতাব্দী পেরিয়ে গেছে, দুনিয়ার লোক ল্যাটিন আমেরিকান সাহিত্য সম্পর্কে আর কিছু না জানলেও মার্কেজ-নেরুদা-বোর্হেস এই হলি ট্রিনিটির নাম অন্তত জানে। পৃথিবীর এক মাথা থেকে আরেক মাথা পর্যন্ত যত লেখক বোর্হেসের সাহিত্য দ্বারা প্রভাবিত হয়েছেন, ইন্সপিরেশন খুঁজে পেয়েছেন, অনুকরণ করার প্রয়াস পেয়েছেন, সেই লিস্টি শুরু করলে আদৌ শেষ হবে না। আমার নিজের পড়ার মধ্যে আছেন প্রিয় মার্কিন লেখক পল অস্টার, আর কয়েক মাস আগেই ব্যাক-টু-ব্যাক পড়লাম ইউগোস্লাভিয়ার দানিলো কিশ এবং আরেক মার্কিন লেখক ব্যারি লোপেসের গল্প সংকলন। দুজনই বোর্হেস-প্রভাবিত। এই বইয়ে বোর্হেসের সেই স্বতন্ত্র গদ্যের প্রথম সন্ধান পাওয়া যায়। হয়তো পুরোপুরি পরিপক্ক নয় - কিন্তু স্টাইলটি আগাগোড়াই পরিচিত। বোর্হেসীয় গদ্যের যথার্থ বর্ণনা দেয়ার মত দুরূহ কাজ খুব অল্পই আছে বলে আমার মনে হয়। নিজের মধ্যে অনেক খুঁজেছি, কিন্তু তবুও এই সম্মোহনী গদ্যশৈলীকে নিখুঁত সংজ্ঞায়িত করার জন্যে যে বিশেষণ-বিশেষ্য দরকার, সেগুলো আমার জানা নেই। বোর্হেসকে ঘিরে কেউ কেউ "philosophical fiction" তকমাটি ব্যবহার করেন, কেউ কেউ বলেন তার গদ্য "fantastic" ক্যাটেগরিতে পড়বে। কিন্তু আমার কাছে এর কোনটাই সন্তোষজনক মনে হয় না, ঠিক যুতসই ঠেকে না। এক শব্দে বর্ণনা বাদ দিলাম, হয়তো বোর্হেস সত্যিই কোন প্রকার সরল শ্রেণীবিভাগের উর্ধে। তবুও একটা ব্যর্থ চেষ্টা তো করা যেতেই পারে। বোর্হেসের গদ্য পড়লে আমার মাথায় ঘোরের মত একটা অনুভূতি হয়, মনে হয় শব্দের জালে পেঁচিয়ে বিশাল উচ্চতায় নিয়ে যান তিনি আমাকে, এক প্রকার হিপনোসিস বা ভার্টিগো বোধ হয়। "মারফতি" বলে যে একটা কথা আছে, বোর্হেসের লেখনী অনেক সময় ঠিক তাই - কিন্তু তার পেছনেও লুকিয়ে থাকে কৌতুক, আর সর্বত্রই শব্দের কুহক বা মরীচিকা - যাকে প্রত্যক্ষ করা যায়, কিন্তু যার রচনার রহস্যভেদ করা অন্তত এই পাঠকের ধরা-ছোঁয়ার বাইরে। Labyrinths সংকলনের মত কালজয়ী কাজ এটা নয়, "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" বা "The Library of Babel" বা "The Garden of Forking Paths" এর মত চোখ-ধাঁধানো মগজ-কচলানো গল্প এখানে নেই। কিছুটা অকিঞ্চিতকর, কিছুটা ট্রিভিয়া - তবুও বোর্হেসীয় গোলকধাঁধায় প্রবেশের পথ এখান থেকেই শুরু।

  • Lourdes
    2019-03-16 03:31

    Leer Historia Universal de la Infamia es ir a la caza de la delgada línea roja. Ésa que separa, imperceptible, la realidad y la ficción. Sucede que, en esta antología de relatos criminales, Borges se apropia de historias verídicas (sin duda, caídas del ambar de viejas páginas policiales o de las polvorientas leyendas de antaño) y las envuelve en una atmósfera fascinante. En una telaraña de detalles asombrosos, que son una reescritura de lo real y que, incluso, lo perfeccionan.Curioso: el autor logra todo esto sin caer en la pulsión falsificadora de los escritores. Ésa que los lleva remodelar el pedestre edificio de los hechos, en busca de una belleza que son incapaces de extraer de la realidad. Borges, no: aunque enriquece la historia con elementos novedosos, respeta tanto los fundamentos de lo cotidiano que resulta muy difícil distinguir dónde termina la literatura y dónde comienza la Historia.Así, desfilan por las páginas de este libro, resucitados por una de las mejores plumas del mundo, célebres maleantes de todos los tiempos y de todas las culturas: la viuda Ching, temible pirata del Oriente; Billy the Kid, bandido de los desiertos de Arizona; y el impostor Tom Castro, quien se hizo pasar por un rico desaparecido y pretendió quedarse con su fortuna. Por supuesto: en Historia Universal de la Infamia, hay otros rutilantes asesinos. Otras glorias criminales y majestuosos estafadores. Porque la realidad, al igual que la ficción, es múltiple y sorprendente. Quizás por eso, en el capítulo final (llamado "Etcétera"), Borges introduce 6 relatos nuevos, enteramente ficcionales.Pese a la amplitud de su temática, las historias de este libro son breves y concisas. Como es característico del autor. Se organizan, incluso, en subtítulos que sistematizan la acción y simplifican la lectura. Es decir: aquellos que temen a Borges, a su pasión -a veces ininteligible- por el mito y lo metafísico, pueden trabar una incipiente amistad con él por medio de este libro, sin miedo a extravirse en sus laberintos conceptuales. Eso sí: prepárense para cuestionar la realidad. Porque, en una vuelta de página cualquiera, la ficción toma su lugar. Inadvertidamente, como los estafadores e impostores de la historia. Y, entonces, sucede la magia.

  • Guillermo Gonca
    2019-02-25 05:11

    La infamia es un acto vil, que mancha de manera definitiva la reputación de un individuo. Hay personajes que han pasado a la historia no por sus actos de heroísmo o de magnanimidad, sino por su abyección o por su influencia negativa en los hechos históricos. En este libro Jorge Luis Borges realiza un compendio de semblanzas y anécdotas sobre personajes infames, entre ellos: Billy The Kid (cuatrero), La viuda Ching (Pirata) y Hakim De Merv (Falso Profeta). Estos sujetos son retratados de manera objetiva, sin hacer apologías ni escarnio excesivo. El ánimo de los escritos no es tanto el narrativo sino casi periodístico, ofreciendo ligeras pinceladas de información que nos incitan a investigar mucho más. Los “apuntes” (llamémoslos así) contenidos en el libro se basan en hechos pasados, a los cuales el autor agrega ciertas dosis de ficción que no alteran en absoluto la valoración histórica de los personajes. No obstante, siendo Borges un gran maestro del relato corto, podemos considerarlos como cuentos de alta manufactura, bien escritos y perfectamente construidos. Sabemos que el autor prefirió hacer relatos cortos bien documentados y bien revisados, en lugar de enormes escritos de naturaleza diversa en los que pudiéramos encontrar aciertos y falencias. El estilo es elegante y sabio, basado en una distante tercera persona (no podía ser de otra manera).Destacan “El tintorero enmascarado Hakim De Merv” (que narra la anécdota que degrada a un popular profeta turkmeno en un vulgar merolico) y “El impostor inverosímil Tom Castro” (que nos habla de un ingenuo y bonachón personaje, títere de una estafa perpetrada por otra persona mucho más malvada). Algunas de estas "infamias" remiten a virtudes por encima de las canalladas. Tal es el caso del excelente “El incivil maestro de ceremonias” que relata una revuelta ocurrida en el Japón feudal y que ejemplifica el código de honor de los Samuraís. Este último podría ser el mejor y más luminoso cuento de todo el libro. A pesar de la presencia del adolescente desalmado Billy The Kid, y del gangster Monk Eastman, quien busque en este libro algo parecido a una novela negra, podría salir decepcionado.Originalmente la obra constaba de siete relatos, pero con el tiempo, se ha ido agregando material adicional; la edición de Alianza editorial contiene un relato más largo llamado “El hombre de la esquina rosada” que trata sobre una pelea entre compadritos (pendencieros bailadores rioplatenses) y cuyo lenguaje arrabalero contrasta fuertemente con el del resto del libro. También se ha agregado el apartado “etcétera” que consta de seis relatos cuyo estilo más complejo y breve se asemeja más al Borges de sus obras posteriores. De estos últimos, destaca el desconcertante “El espejo de tinta”.Con “Historia universal de la infamia” inicia el periodo clásico de Borges (Un crítico calificó este libro como la obra que inicia el realismo mágico latinoamericano), puede leerse como introducción al mundo Borgesiano y también como un libro de relatos históricos excelentemente escrito. El ánimo histórico y periodístico, lo coloca a como un libro menos complicado comparado con otras colecciones de relatos del autor (“El Aleph” y “Ficciones”), pero esto no significa que la lectura sea muy rápida, puesto que el lector deseará confrontar los innumerables datos y referencias mencionadas. Un relato corto de Borges puede contener más información que una novela completa de otros autores.

  • Meric Aksu
    2019-03-18 04:24

    “Ne yazdımsa yazdım” “Bir bakıma mutsuz bir adamdım, ama bu kitabı yazarken kendimi oyalayıp avuttum” “Bana öyle geliyor ki, iyi okurlar, iyi yazarlardan daha az. Okuma, elbette, yazmadan sonra gelen bir etkinliktir; daha gösterişsiz, daha özgür, daha düşünseldir” “Kitabın adında yer alan alçaklık sözcüğü de çok ağır bir söz, ama bütün bu tantananın ardında hiçbir şey yok” diyen Borges, kitabın tekrar yayınlandığı tarihten yirmi yıl önceki haliyle hiç değiştirmeden tekrar yayınlatırken; bir yandan da alçakgönüllülüğün-üzerine basa basa da olsa, gönül almanın-öncesinde kıra kıra da olsa, tarihini yazıyor ennn barok tarafından. “Zalim Kurtarıcı Lazarus Morell” kitabın ilk hikayesi ve akıllara ziyan da bir giriş’e sahip. “Nereden Nereye? Sayende imiş yufka yürekli İspanyol misyoner.” Kaş yapayım derken göz çıkartan misyoner Bartolome de las Casas sömürmenin eylem kısmının baki kalmasını sağlayarak, öznesini değiştiriyor ve Antiller’deki altın madenlerinin cehennem çukurlarında çürüyüp gitmekte olan Yerliler’inin yerine zencileri koyuyor bundan böyle onlar çürüyüp gitsinler diye-nasılsa birileri çürüyecek çünkü. Bu adilane düzen, bu insancıl dönüşüm bir süre sonra sanatta isyana dönüşünce de her zaman olduğu gibi san’at kazanıyor hiç kuşkusuz. Sömürenin ve sömürülenin, alçağın ve mazlumun durumuna olabilecek en ironik şekilde yaklaşıyor yazar. En çok da bu soğukkanlı ve alaycı tavrına şapka çıkarmak gerek. Dinlere gerçekçi bir kimlik, peygamberlere insani bir boyut katarak, zalimlere, alçaklara, firavunlara gönlünü kaptırmayarak, ne düşünmüşse yazmış Borges. Korkusuzca. Dünyanın, tüm zamanlarda, böyle cesur kalemlere ihtiyacı var kanımca. “Kaçak köle özgürlüğüne kavuşmayı bekleyedursun, Lazarus Morell’in kancık melezleri kendi aralarında bazen belli belirsiz bir baş işaretiyle karar verirler ve köleyi gözden, kulaktan, elden, günden, rezillikten, zamandan, koruyucularından, umarsızlıktan, havadan, köpek sürülerinden, dünyadan, umuttan, terden ve kendinden kurtarıverirlerdi. Bir kurşun, bir bıçak ya da kafaya inen bir sopa... Son kanıtı yok etmek Mississippi’nin kaplumbağalarıyla, yayınbalıklarına kalırdı.”

  • Marko
    2019-02-23 08:37

    Awww, my 1st Borges ^^ I remember the beauty, the confusion...just don't read it in your teenage years :D

  • Vit Babenco
    2019-03-21 04:28

    I believe it is impossible to overvalue Jorge Luis Borges’ influence on the modern intellectual literature – however much we think he did, he did even more.Similar to sounds, skilfully combined by a composer into a harmonious sequence, turning into melody, simple words, cunningly used by an adroit author, turn into intellectual music.“The runaway expected his freedom. Lazarus Morell’s shadowy mulattoes would give out an order among themselves that was sometimes barely more than a nod of the head, and the slave would be freed from sight, hearing, touch, day, infamy, time, his benefactors, pity, the air, the hound packs, the world, hope, sweat, and himself. A bullet, a knife, or a blow, and the Mississippi turtles and catfish would receive the last evidence.”Telling the tales of villainy Jorge Luis Borges turns reality into a baroque ornament of wickedness, grotesquely adding to evil supernatural features so that it becomes even more sinister.A virtuoso addition to reality even a wee bit of magic unfailingly turns it into a magnetizing object of art.

  • M. Sarki
    2019-02-24 07:21

    This was an enjoyable read and much better than some have mentioned in their criticisms. Borges' style is so natural and free. It is as if he is sitting there in front of you, relaxing, relating his story to our sharpening delight.

  • Mohamad
    2019-02-28 04:26

    صفحات كتاب از چوبه دار و مجازات شدگان و تبهكاران و دزدان دريايي انباشته شده و واژه بي عدالتي و شرارت در عنوان كتاب،ترس و هيبت بر مي انگيزد،اما زير اين همه طوفان هيچي و پوچي است.همه اش فقط ظاهر است و براي همين است كه شايد خوانندگان بتوانند از آن لذت ببرند.

  • Utopíasdevalentina
    2019-03-12 09:26

    Hay palabras que necesitan más de una palabras para definirla, y la infamia es una de esas. Borges en este libro de Ficción presenta cuentos creados con personajes biográficos. La voz del narrador en tercera persona llamo mi atención, cuando durante la lectura te encuentras con la primera persona y durante la narración también lees ´Borges´ no es exactamente un personaje, sin embargo no se confunde con el narrador de la historia, al usar voz narrativa en tercera persona. La voz narrativa de este libro de ficción, es lo que más destaco, cabe mencionar que el uso de la tercera persona es escaso. El camino autor brinda los datos de lo particular a lo general, la narrativa ve de adentro para fuera de la historia. Borges hace uso de metáforas como la que le asigna como título a un capitulo: El simulador de la infamia. Ficción bajo el mando de la apoteosis. Títulos que entrelazan el capítulo con el sub capitulo y con la trama general del libro. Apoderar, derrotar, liderar algunas de las virtudes de los personajes de los cuentos de Borges en esta historia. Conexiones con exiguo dicción, poseen una profundidad de desarrollo y comprensión de la historia, disimiles incidentes y contingencias presencian los personajes, miedo, esperanza, misericordia derrota en la vida mendiga. La Magia y el brujo. El envenenador de caballos, apoderamiento de fortalezas y derrotas de los líderes que después terminaron no siéndolo tanto. Reino. Mohamed. Las conexiones que crea Borges con el lector y sus personajes son sublime. Hay quienes mencionan que para leer a Borges se necesita madurez literaria, tal vez por el lenguaje o el uso de constantes metáforas lo dificulte. Un poco paciencia y desde este libro de ficción podrás entrar en mundo de Borges, como buena alternativa de inicio de lectura de este autor. Lo interesante de compartir contenido por acá es conocer las múltiples perspectivas de las diferentes lecturas. Comenta si ya te la leíste.

  • Nabila Tabassum Chowdhury
    2019-03-10 09:27

    গুডরিডসে প্রতি সপ্তাহে হালি খানেক রিভিউ নামক বকবকানি পোস্ট করার একটি অভ্যাস ছিল, যদিও বুঝতে পারছিলাম যারা এসব পড়ছে তারা বেশ বিরক্তই হচ্ছে, তা সত্ত্বেও সে অভ্যাস ধরে রাখার বেশ শক্ত ইচ্ছা রাখতাম। কিন্তু ইচ্ছায় সব হয় না। পড়তেই পারছি কই, আর রিভিউ। লেখার ব্যাপারেও ইনার্শিয়া। যাক সে কথা, আজও রিভিউ লিখতে বসিনি। শুধু বোর্হেস পড়তে শুরু করেছি, একটি বই পড়ে শেষ করেছি সেটা জানাতে বসেছি, খুশী ভাগ করতে এসেছি। Historia universal de la infamia এর দুখানা অনুবাদ আছে একটা ১৯৭২ সালের A Universal History of Infamy, আরেকটা ১৯৯৯ সালের A Universal History of Iniquity দুইখানাই একসাথে পড়েছি। ১৯৭২ সালের অনুবাদটার বাক্যগঠন ভাল লেগেছে আর ১৯৯৯ সালের অনুবাদের শব্দচয়ন। যদি একটার পক্ষে ভোট দিতে নিতান্তই বাধ্য হই তবে খুব সম্ভবত পুরোনোটাকেই বেছে নিবো। বোর্হেস নিজে কিন্তু কোনোটিকেই 'অথরাইজড' হিসেবে বেছে নেননি। বইটাতে আপাত দৃষ্টিতে ইতিহাসের কিছু 'কুখ্যাত' ব্যক্তিকে নিয়ে সোজাসাপ্টা গল্প আছে, যারা পৃথিবীর নানা জায়গায় নানাভাবে এই কুখ্যাতি অর্জন করেছিলেন। গল্পগুলো 'আপাত' দৃষ্টিতে সরল মনে হলেও যে নিতান্তই সরল নয় সেটা আমি প্রথম গল্প পড়েই বুঝে গিয়েছিলাম। প্রথম গল্পটি যে কুখ্যাত মানুষটিকে নিয়ে, তিনি যে সময়টাতে বেঁচে ছিলেন, সে সময়কে কেন্দ্র করে নতুন এক লেখকের লেখা প্রায় ৪০০ পাতার ঐতিহাসিক উপন্যাস আমি পড়েছিলাম গতবছর। ঠিক যে মুহূর্তে বুঝলাম ৪০০ পাতার উপন্যাস পড়ে সে সময়টাকে আমি যতটুক ধরতে পেরেছিলাম, ১২ পাতার গল্পে যে সময়টা তার চেয়ে বেশি বই কম ধরা দিচ্ছে না, ঠিক সেই মুহূর্তে আমি মুগ্ধ হয়ে গেলাম। যদিও এটাই বোর্হেসকে নিয়ে মুগ্ধতার মূল কারণ নয়, মূল কারণ 'ব্যাখ্যার অতীত', এবং ব্যাখ্যার কষ্ট করতে ইচ্ছে হচ্ছে না। এটা আসলে একত্রে দুটো অনুবাদ পড়ার মূল কারণ, যাতে করে ভাষার রূপান্তরে যতটুকু খোয়া গেছে, তা কিছুটা কমিয়ে আনা যায়।যাক, এখন বাকিগুলো এই কচ্ছপ গতিতে হলেও পড়ে ফেলতে হবে।

  • Cecilia
    2019-03-01 03:16

    Es imposible que le de a Borges menos de 5 estrellas. Sus libros han llenado mi mundo de magia y enigmas siempre y cada una de las veces que los leo. Este, sin embargo, es otro de mis favoritos. Borges siempre será el mejor (para mí)

  • Jimmy Ele
    2019-03-19 07:31

    Amazing. Loved it.

  • Miquixote
    2019-03-25 04:35

    Apparently the term "magical realism" movement began here.Original real criminal stories altered.But Borges himself criticizes it: "when art flaunts and squanders its resources"; "the irresponsible sport of a shy sort of man who could not bring himself to write short stories, and so amused himself by changing and distorting (sometimes without aesthetic justification) the stories of other men"; "under all the storm and lightning, there is nothing."My first Borges read, i really liked it even if he didn't himself, 'although it amused him to write it, it is all just appearance, a surface of images, which is why readers may, perhaps, enjoy it' (borges). so i really doubt it is his best. And if this is bad for him, i am therefore motivated to read more of him.

  • Мартин Касабов
    2019-03-10 03:27

    И все пак, какво ви очаква измежду страниците? Пирати и търговци на роби. Хора без съвест, които се представят за чужди синове, измамници, негодници, негодяи и обикновени убийци от Дивия Запад.Борхес разказва страховити истории за жестоки мъже и жени, които обаче, за разлика от начина, по който сме свикнали да слушаме, тук се разтварят във въздуха. Изядени се от прозаичен край или нелепа смърт, животите в тях са сведени до няколко параграфа.Научих много от този сборник. Препоръчвам го на хора, които пишат.Цялото ревю в "Изумен":

  • Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
    2019-03-24 03:36

    Another re-read. Young Borges working his way toward fiction by playing with fact. Perfidious individuals from history and legend stride through the pages of this slim book, spreading death and fear across 4 continents before coming to, for the most part, sticky ends. A great preamble to a unique body of work, but don't let this be your first or only Borges.

  • Taha
    2019-03-08 06:25

    Evrenin çeşitli yerlerinden yaşanan alçaklığı büyülü gerçekçilikle güzel harmanlıyor Borges. Post-Modern izlerini fazlasıyla hissettiriyor.

  • Justin Evans
    2019-02-28 02:33

    I somehow managed to get a BA with a focus on comparative literature and continental philosophy and then a PhD with a focus on twentieth century literature without reading any Borges. How did that happen? Well, any time I tried to read South American 'magical realist' literature I broke out in hives of boredom, and I thought maybe Borges was to blame; in addition, I thought, and still think, that Borges might be responsible in part for recent developments in the anglo-american literature of conceit (you know, books called things like The Amazing Adventures of Kloofy Krumpleflugger, in which Kloofy Krumpleflugger has some kind of cute mental condition, a conflicted relationship with his mother, and is able to talk to animals--but which has absolutely no intellectual, emotional or ethical weight whatsoever outside a bland kind of liberalism). Well, I was wrong, I know, I should have read him earlier. This collection is a charming nothing, which is exactly what I was looking for. The narrative voice is delightful, the stories slightly magical but really more or less straight retellings of traditional stories from the middle east and east asia, or nineteenth century tales of outlawry. And, somewhat confusingly, tales from Swedenborg (. Borges' 'original' tale, 'Man on Pink Corner,' is a'ight, but not as much fun as the others. I fear I'll get less impressed by Borges if his work gets more serious than this; people who deal with 'universal themes' in a serious way are always unbearable.

  • Ubik 2.0
    2019-03-21 02:22

    Bozzetti? Suggestioni.Nel giudicare la “Storia universale dell’infamia” non si può ignorare che il maestro argentino pubblicò questi scritti alla spicciolata su un quotidiano locale, 10 anni prima delle opere di narrativa che gli diedero la fama. Va da sé che attendersi un’opera complessivamente paragonabile a “Finzioni” o “L’Aleph” è un approccio vano oltre che ingeneroso nei confronti di una raccolta che pure presenta chiari elementi già in grado di riverberare il genio dell’autore destinato ad esprimersi ai suoi massimi nella maturità.Fra queste storie, apparente divertissement di un curioso ed originale uomo di grande cultura e molteplici influenze, emergono e quasi esplodono, in modo puntualmente inaspettato, improvvise aperture verso orizzonti di fantasia abbagliante, invenzioni buttate lì in una riga ed in maniera quasi distratta, ma che potrebbero generare ulteriori racconti (se non addirittura romanzi, formato tuttavia non congeniale alla penna di Borges).E quindi ciò che in primo luogo quest’opera lascia nella nostra memoria è sintetizzabile nel termine ampio e vago di “suggestioni”, suggestioni di mondi immaginari e illusori, specchi, destini, incantesimi, soprattutto sogni.

  • نرگس
    2019-03-21 09:22

    این کتاب انگار نوشتنش برای بورخس تمرین بوده، خوندنش هم تمرینیه. مسابقه تو کتاب‌های دیگه‌اش اتفاق می‌افته.

  • Mariel Zani Begoña
    2019-03-17 08:19

    Muy bueno. Definitivamente seguiré leyendo a BorgesReally good. I will definitely continue reading this author

  • Tiago Diogo
    2019-03-04 05:33

    Um Mundo de bandidos. Bandidos poéticos com muito swag.

  • Христо Блажев
    2019-03-07 05:34

    Всеобща история на безчестието разказва Борхес:За разлика от “Хладнокръвно” на Капоти, където е търсен суров реализъм, Борхес се насочва в точно обратна посока – легендаризирането на тези типажи като представителни за времето си и разбиранията за смелост и дързост. Аурата около престъпниците е винаги притегателна за изкуствата, които ги отразяват в най-силните си и запомнящи се творби (само си помислете колко от признато великите филми са точно с такива герои). Борхес обаче отива стъпка напред с присъщата си енциклопедичност – около оста на всеки от героите той разгръща панорама не само на живота им, но и на времето, в което развиват бурните си и пагубни за мнозина начинания.Colibri Books

  • Isil
    2019-03-05 08:41 ne kadar bitirmem uzun sürmüş olsa da çok eğlenerek okudum bu kitabı. Dünyanın ve tarihin her tarafından toparlanmış öyküler var bu kitapta. Sudan'dan Arjantin'e, Çin'den İran'a kadar. Aslında büyük ihtimalle gerçekten yaşamış kişilikleri alıp biraz çarpıtarak hikayeleştirmiş.Esasen Arjantin'deki bir gazetenin pazar ekine yazdığı yazıların toparlanması bu kitap ama zamanında çok ses getirmiş.Bendeki nüsha İletişim Yayınları 10. baskı. Bunu neden söylüyorum, çevirmen Celal Üster'i kutlamak için. Edebi bir dille yazılmış kitap ve çevirmenin kullandığı kelimeleri çok beğendim. Tebrik ederim :) Umarım bir gün İspanyolca da öğrenip orjinalinin de tadına bakarım.Bu arada özellikle doğu edebiyatı (Binbir Gece Masalları da geçiyor) içeren bölümlerde İhsan Oktay Anar tadı aldığımı söylemeliyim. Ancak bu hikayeler genellikle daha kısa olanlardı hevesim biraz kursağımda kaldı.. Daha çok olsa da okusam dedim :)Kitapta benim en beğendiğim hikayeler Kadın Korsan Dul Çing, Maskeli Boyacı Mervli Hâkim, Düş Gören İki Adamın Masalı, Yaya Kalan Büyücü oldu galiba. Çok keyifli bir kitap gerçekten çok tavsiye ederim. İyi olan kısmı da hikaye kitabı olması. İşlerinizin yoğun olduğu dönemlerde güzel bir kaçamak olabilir. Ne de olsa bir hikayenin diğeriyle ilgisi yok, her an köşeye konup beklemede kalabilir.

  • Tanuj Solanki
    2019-03-17 09:37

    According to Borges, the stories here were meant for nothing graver than light entertainment. But today their chief purpose may well be to provide access to the writer's early dabbling. And yes, there are numerous signs of what was to come. There are mirrors here, and recursive systems, and hoaxes, and some mind-boggling endings too.Though the stories are straightforward, re-reading provides greater pleasures, as with all Borges. The trivia is that each story was written as contribution to a weekly column in an Argentine newspaper - just to fill the space. This may amaze today's aspiring writers, a crowd of which we now face considerable proliferation. Such fecundity, such class, and such research is bound to appear downright incredible.