Shifting Territories: Borges and Hawthorne on Neutral Ground


  • Jonathan Murphy Texas A&M International University


Palabras clave:

Borges, Hawthorne, Tlön, Wakefield, différend


Jorge Luis Borges was an ardent fan of American Literature and of NathanielHawthorne in particular. This essay will examine Borges’ lengthy essay “Na-thaniel Hawthorne,” originally delivered as a lecture in 1949. Borges providesseveral important insights into Hawthorne’s aesthetic practices, much of which arerelatable to his observation that Hawthorne was more of a sentimental or imagistic ar-tist, than an intellectual or abstract writer. The essay will trace out the basic features ofBorges’ argumentative engagement with Hawthorne and will consider whether or notHawthorne’s romantic aesthetics and Borges’ postmodernist practices find a commonground in the neutral territory of the imagination as it was described by Hawthorne. Inparticular, Borges’ tale, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” will be, albeit briefly, compared toHawthorne’s “Wakefield,” a tale for which Borges had a particular affinity. Ultimately,although they may be situated on opposing sides of the modern-postmodern différendelaborated by Lyotard, their mutual respect for the irresolvable difference between me-taphysical genres binds them in common.

Biografía del autor/a

Jonathan Murphy, Texas A&M International University

Profesor Asociado de literatura estadounidense y Jefe delDepartamento de Humanidades de la Universidad Internacional TexasA&M en Laredo, Texas. Ha publicado varios artículos sobre unadiversidad de temas y autores de literatura y filosofía estadounidenses,así como sobre teoría literaria. Actualmente trabaja en un proyecto delibro titulado "En la tumba del Renacimiento Americano.”