Luis Borges, Jorge, “Three Stories”, The New Yorker, Dec 30, 1966

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Wednesday 19 April 2023

This entry to the library from The New Yorker is a collection of three short works of fiction by the South American author Jorge Luis Borges, with the first two particularly relevant as examples of ‘peace literature’: ‘I-Biography of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz (1829-74)’ and ‘II – The Dead Man.’

I chose to include these works of fiction because they serve as examples of Borges’s literature heavily rooted in Argentinian violent history, and so raise pertinent questions on how literature of violence might become a space for peace narratives, allowing the application of more theoretical approaches to peace literature.

The first story, ‘I-Biography of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz (1829-74)’, features a mock biography of the Gaucho figure, Cruz. It is a story interspersed with casual violence and civil unrest within a rugged Argentina. As such, it is not a very peaceful narrative on the surface; but, it explores marginalized Argentinian history, and so can potentially become a space for exploring truths.

The second story,  ‘II – The Dead Man’, is another mock biography of an ordinary man who infiltrates a rough gang of criminals in the Argentinian countryside. Again, it is a story peppered with violence and ‘machismo’ which can roughly be translated to misogyny. This abstract and tragic tale seems to mimic and probe violence in Argentinian history.  

By reading these stories, the anglophone reader will gain a deeper understanding of Argentinian culture through literature and can begin to think about how the text could be analysed from the perspective of ‘peace literature’.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1967/01/07/three-stories#

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