I'm teaching this one right now.  It's a course for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students.  Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) was an Argentine writer who is probably most famous internationally for his ficciones.  These are odd little pieces of prose that often mimic certain standard genres -- science fiction, detective story, encyclopedia article, literary criticism -- but include strange and subtle twists that suddenly leave you spinning in a philosophical conundrum about the nature and functions of self, language, and universe.  I love Borges for a few reasons:  he's super attentive to each and every word in his short writings, to the degree that often changing just one word, even just substituting a synonym, changes drastically the whole web of implications.  He's also a master at generating ambiguity:  just when you think Borges' story is going in one direction, taking one position, he throws in some minor detail that spins it off in the opposing direction.  It never rests.  This makes these stories ideal for a classroom setting.  Honestly, when I started this course a few months ago, I wasn't all that excited.  Borges, so rich in idea, is, for my taste, correspondingly poor in flesh and blood characters.  But my students with their effort and attention to detail and their willingness to bring their ideas to the table (despite the fact that they are reading and speaking in a foreign language) have breathed a gale of new life into Borges for me.  The class meets twice a week.  We read one story per week.  On the first meeting day, students spend 40 minutes in small work groups discussing the story and then for the remaining 40 minutes I give my perspective.  On the second meeting, students have reread the story and have maybe 20 minutes in their small groups in order to revise and elaborate their initial discussions in light of my lecture and their own rereading.  Then for the final hour of the class we gather together in a larger group to develop a kind of collective reading of the story, joining together the insights of the various groups.  Here's our reading schedule (note:  in the coming days, I'll be adding links to some of these titles below):

Week I: "Pierre Menard, autor del quixote" ("Pierre Menard, author of the quixote") and "Kafka y sus precursores" ("Kafka and his precursors")

Week II: "El jardin de senderos que se bifurcan" ("The Garden of Forking Paths")

Week III: "La muerte y la brujula"  ("Death and the Compass")

Week IV: "Emma Zunz" ("Emma Zunz")

Week V: "Tlon, Uqbar, y Orbis Tertius" ("Tlon, Uqbar, and Orbis Tertius")

Week VI: Philip K. Dick, "The Minority Report" and Stephen Spielberg (d.), Minority Report

Week VII: "El zahir" ("The Zahir")

Week VIII: "El aleph" ("The Aleph")

Week IX: "Funes, el memorioso" ("Funes, His Memory" -- literally something like "Funes, the one full of memory")

Week X: "Acercamiento a Al-Mo'tasim" and "La rosa de Paracelso" ("Approach to Almutasim" and "The Rose of Paracelsus")

Week XI: "El immortal" ("The Immortal")

Week XII: "El otro" and "Borges y yo" ("The Other" and "Borges and I")

Week XIII: "El sur" ("The South")


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