Thursday, September 5, 2013

Borges manuscript found

Found, in Argentina’s National Library, an unpublished bit of writing by Jorge Luis Borges, an alternate ending for the 1944 story “Tema del traidor y del heroe” [Theme of the traitor and the hero]. The Latin American Herald Tribune offers this speculation:

Borges may have planned for the manuscript to be discovered, since in “Tema del traidor and del heroe” the protagonist’s great-grandson discovers a handwritten article in the National Library’s archives.
Well, no. The great-grandson himself, a man named Ryan, is the protagonist and the narrator of the story whose plot the narrator of “Tema del traidor y del heroe” describes. Ryan finds a manuscript in “the archives,” but Borges’s story does not say where they are located.

Still, I like the speculation.

[The story appears in translation in Labyrinths (1962) and Collected Fictions (1999). I missed hearing Borges read at Columbia University in April 1980, during a New York City transit strike, and I’ve never forgiven myself for not at least trying to get there.]

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