Jorge Guillermo Borges Haslam

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Jorge Guillermo Borges (24 February 1874 – 14 February 1938) was an Argentine lawyer, teacher, writer, philosopher and translator. He was also an anarchist and a follower of Herbert Spencer philosophy. He's also a notable figure for being Jorge Luis Borges’s father.


He was the son of Colonel Francisco Borges Lafinur, an Argentine military officer of Uruguayan origins, and Frances Anne Haslam, an English native. [1] In 1898, he married Leonor Acevedo Suárez with whom he had two children: writer Jorge Luis Borges and painter Norah Borges. Due to the failing eyesight that would eventually afflict his son, Borges eventually abandoned his law career and the family moved to Geneva, Switzerland before World War I, where the young Jorge Luis was treated by an eye specialist. In 1921, the Borges family returned to Argentina. [2]

Known for his Spencerian philosophical anarchist ideas, Jorge Guillermo Borges studied law in Buenos Aires along with his lifelong friend Macedonio Fernández. He did not practice law and turned to literature instead, allegedly writing one novel: El Caudillo, published in Palma de Mallorca in 1921. Inserted in a typical criollista literary tendency of the time —that would later be taken up by Jorge Luis in his stories and poems— the novel generates ambiguous sensations that lead its reader to believe that —in what would later become pure magic realism— such a text could be the novel that Jorge Luis never wrote. [3]

Borges had maternal ancestral roots in Staffordshire, England. A cultivated man, he read fluently in English, was an agnostic, a skeptic, and had a deep interest in metaphysics. At the homes where he settled with his wife and family both in Palermo and Geneva, he kept a large library offering his children a complex and profound universe. On those bookshelves, young Jorge Luis and Norah could find important works in English literature: Stevenson, Hawthorne, Wells, Coleridge, Kipling, De Quincey, Poe, and Melville. His son would later remark that "if I were asked to name the chief event in my life, I should say my father's library." [4] [5] [6]

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  1. "Biography". Find a Grave . Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  2. "Don't abandon me". London Review of Books. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  3. "La novela de Borges". Página 12. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  4. Borges, Jorge Luis, "Autobiographical Notes", The New Yorker, 19 September 1970.
  5. Rojo, Grinor (2009). Borgeana. Santiago de Chile: LOM Ediciones. p. 85. ISBN   978-956-00-0107-8.
  6. Stavans, Ilan (1986). Emma Zunz: The Jewish Theodicy of Jorge Luis Borges. Indiana, USA: Purdue University Press.