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Distributed for Seagull Books

Conversations, Volume 2

Recorded during Jorge Luis Borges’s final years, this second volume of his conversations with Osvaldo Ferrari provides a wide-ranging reflection on the life and work of Argentina’s master writer and favorite conversationalist.

In Conversations: Volume 2, Borges and Ferrari engage in a dialogue that is both improvisational and frequently humorous as they touch on subjects as diverse as epic poetry, detective fiction, Buddhism, and the moon landing. With his signature wit, Borges offers insight into the philosophical basis of his stories and poems, his fascination with religious mysticism, and the idea of life as a dream. He also dwells on more personal themes, including the influence of his mother and father on his intellectual development, his friendships, and living with blindness. These recollections are alive to the passage of history, whether in the changing landscape of Buenos Aires or a succession of political conflicts, leading Borges to contemplate what he describes as his “South American destiny.”

The recurrent theme of these conversations, however, is a life lived through books. Borges draws on the resources of a mental library that embraces world literature—ancient and modern. He recalls the works that were a constant presence in his memory and maps his changing attitudes to a highly personal canon. In the prologue to the volume, Borges celebrates dialogue and the transmission of culture across time and place. These conversations are a testimony to the supple ways that Borges explored his own relation to numerous traditions.

352 pages | 5 1/2 x 7 3/4 | © 2015

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

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“The English edition is good in that the translator has captured many twists in the old man’s Spanish and in his Argentine quirks. . . . For those of us who knew the grand old man, or heard him frequently, Boll’s version has almost captured the soft, gravelly voice, the pauses that sometimes sounded like a gentle stutter and the ever-present deceptive hint of doubt in asking an interlocutor if an opinion or detail is correct.”

Literary Review

"Conversations cannot and must not be missed by all lovers of Borges and readers of literature. The three beautifully produced books also feel like collector’s items. . . . The existence of these three volumes of Conversations with Borges will perhaps also calm the storms on Jupiter, change the colours of the hexagonal cloud formation on Saturn’s North Pole, spark a fresh burst of high energy gamma rays from the galactic centre and make our world a bit more imaginative, wondrous, wiser and happier."

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Table of Contents

Prologue by Forge Luis Borges
Prologue by Osvaldo Ferrai

On the United States
The Cult of Books
Argentina’s Past, Present and Future
On Philosophy
On Borges’ Mother, Leonor Acevedo Suárez
On Uruguay
Poetic Intelligence
‘Epic Flavour’
Virginia Woolf, Victoria Ocampo and Feminism 
The Conspirators 
Bertrand Russell
The ‘Conjectural Poem’
New Dialogue on Poetry
The Moon Landing
Russian Writers
New Dialogue on Alonso Quijano
Celtic Culture
The Mystic Swedenborg 
The Nineteenth Century
On Friendship
The Book of Heaven and Hell
On France
Mark Twain, Güiraldes and Kipling
‘Buddha and Personality’
Irish Literature
The Poets of New England
On Metaphor
Edgar Allan Poe
Paul Groussac
New Dialogue on The Conspirators

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