“To dismantle the old dilemma of Borges studies…”

By | April 3, 2012

9781441197795_thumbA fiery endorsement from the novelist and critic Alan Pauls for Hernán Díaz’s forthcoming Borges, Between and Eternity (due out in August):

“Just when all seemed lost, Borges, Between History and Eternity proves there’s still life in the Borges studies galaxy. Life of the best kind, which in the world of literary criticism means precision, intellectual agility, microscopically close reading and, above all, the will to go against the grain of the most respected conventional wisdom. To dismantle the old dilemma of Borges studies—Borges, universal or local? Metaphysical or down-to-earth? Abstract or political?—Hernán Díaz exhumes a critical dagger that in his hands shines as though drawn for the first time: the chiasmus. Which is to say the swinging operation that requires crossing and interchanging the terms of an opposition that once seemed ironclad. Thus Díaz finds the Borges most engaged with history in his most conceptual texts, and the most conceptual Borges in those fictions most deeply rooted in national identity. History and eternity, as Díaz sees them in Borges, are no longer antithetical terms: they are poles linked by a healthy and diabolic reciprocal equivalence that can’t help but disquiet us. To take a writer about whom we thought we knew everything and render him disquieting—what more can we ask from a book of criticism?” — Alan Pauls

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