5: Text, Jorge Luis Borges’s “Borges y yo” (“Borges and I”), 1957, and audio recording of Borges reading the text, 1967.
One of the best known (and briefest) texts in which Borges explored the unresolvable paradoxes of identity was “Borges y yo,” translated as “Borges and I.” Students with some Spanish ability can compare the original with the translation, while listening to Borges read his own words aloud.
Suggested Activity: Have students write their own version of the text, an homage to “Borges and I” using their own names and biographical details. Have students share their own versions and highlight the ambiguity in the meaning of Borges’s text. Then, discuss how the irreducible ambiguity of identity in “Borges and I” relates to the ambiguity about time and identity in “The Secret Miracle.” At the instant of the protagonist’s death, who is telling the story? What is the author’s relationship to the protagonist? What is the reader’s relationship to the author?
Sources: “Borges and I,” trans. Ilan Stavans, in FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Latin American Poetry: An Anthology (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011), available online here.
“Borges y yo,”Obras Completas (Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores, 1974), 808, available online here. “Borges y yo” by Jorge Luis Borges, currently collected in EL HACEDOR. Copyright © 1995 by Maria Kodama, used by permission of The Wylie Agency LLC.
Jorge Luis Borges, Borges por el mismo: Sus poemas y su voz. Buenos Aires: AMB Discográfica, 1967, available online here.