Shakespeare's Memory (short story collection)

Last updated
Shakespeare's Memory
First edition
Author Jorge Luis Borges
Original titleLa memoria de Shakespeare
PublisherDos Amigos (Buenos Aires)
Publication date
Media typePrint
Pages83 (Alianza Editorial)

Shakespeare's Memory (original Spanish title: La memoria de Shakespeare) is a short story collection published in 1983 that collects the last stories by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, which had been published in diverse mediums, such as the national newspapers La Nación and Clarín . [1] It was published three years before the author's death.

An English translation of the stories by Andrew Hurley was published in Collected Fictions. [2]


The collection contains only four short stories, [1] [3] making it Borges' shortest collection. These are (original titles in italics): [3]

"August 25, 1983", the first story of the collection, is about Borges encountering an older version of himself at the last minutes of his life [4] (it is similar to Borges' previous story "The Other", from the collection The Book of Sand , in which a younger and an older Borges also meet). [4] In "Blue Tigers", the narrator gets hold of a group of mysterious blue stones whose number continuously multiplies and divides when one is not looking (retaking the themes of his previous stories "The Zahir", "The Disk", and "The Book of Sand": a direct confrontation with the inconceivable, in the form of an impossible object). "The Rose of Paracelsus" illustrates the old dispute between faith and incredulity. [1] [3] And finally, the titular story "Shakespeare's Memory" (Borges' last story) [5] [6] is about a man who is given the memory of William Shakespeare, [4] enabling him to peer into the playwright's most secret thoughts, but also overloading him to the point of slowly forgetting his own life. [1] [6] [7] Borges got the idea for this last story when, at eighty years of age, he dreamed that a faceless man offered him the memory of Shakespeare in a hotel room. [5]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jorge Luis Borges</span> Argentine writer, essayist, poet and translator (1899–1986)

Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator regarded as a key figure in Spanish-language and international literature. His best-known books, Ficciones (transl. Fictions) and El Aleph, published in the 1940s, are collections of short stories exploring motifs such as dreams, labyrinths, chance, infinity, archives, mirrors, fictional writers and mythology. Borges's works have contributed to philosophical literature and the fantasy genre, and have had a major influence on the magic realist movement in 20th century Latin American literature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Adolfo Bioy Casares</span> Argentine novelist (1914–1999)

Adolfo Bioy Casares was an Argentine fiction writer, journalist, diarist, and translator. He was a friend and frequent collaborator with his fellow countryman Jorge Luis Borges. He is the author of the Fantastique novel The Invention of Morel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Juan Rulfo</span> Mexican writer (1917–1986)

Juan Nepomuceno Carlos Pérez Rulfo Vizcaíno, best known as Juan Rulfo, was a Mexican writer, screenwriter, and photographer. He is best known for two literary works, the 1955 novel Pedro Páramo, and the collection of short stories El Llano en llamas (1953). This collection includes the popular tale "¡Diles que no me maten!".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manuel Vázquez Montalbán</span> Spanish novelist (1939–2003)

Manuel Vázquez Montalbán was a prolific Spanish writer from Barcelona: journalist, novelist, poet, essayist, anthologue, prologist, humorist, critic and political prisoner as well as a gastronome and a FC Barcelona supporter.

Carlos Mastronardi was an Argentine journalist, poet, and translator. His works included Luz de provincia, Tierra amanecida (1926), Conocimiento de la noche (1937), and Tratado de la pena. His non-fiction Valéry o la infinitud del método won the Buenos Aires Municipal Prize for Literature (1955). Other important works of non-fiction included Formas de la realidad nacional and Memorias de un Provinciano. Some of his journalism was published posthumously as Cuadernos de vivir y pensar.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jorge Luis Borges bibliography</span>

This is a bibliography of works by Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet, and translator Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ernesto Sabato</span> Argentine novelist, essayist, painter and physicist

Ernesto Sabato was an Argentine novelist, essayist, painter, and physicist. According to the BBC he "won some of the most prestigious prizes in Hispanic literature" and "became very influential in the literary world throughout Latin America". Upon his death El País dubbed him the "last classic writer in Argentine literature".

<i>Página 12</i> Daily newspaper based in Argentina

Página 12 is a newspaper published in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was founded on 25 May 1987 by journalist Jorge Lanata and writers Osvaldo Soriano and Alberto Elizalde Leal. Since 2016 the newspaper is property of Grupo Octubre, a multimedia company created by Víctor Santa María, president of the Justicialist Party in the Buenos Aires.

"The House of Asterion" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The story was first published in 1947 in the literary magazine Los Anales de Buenos Aires and republished in Borges's short story collection The Aleph in 1949. It is based on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and is told from the perspective of Asterion, the Minotaur.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rodolfo Enrique Fogwill</span>

Rodolfo Enrique Fogwill, who normally went only by his surname, Fogwill, was an Argentine short story writer, novelist, and businessman. He was a distant relative of the novelist Charles Langbridge Morgan. He was the author of Malvinas Requiem, one of the first narratives to deal with the Falklands War. Fogwill died on August 21, 2010, from a pulmonary dysfunction.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Juan José Arreola</span>

Juan José Arreola Zúñiga was a Mexican writer, academic, and actor. He is considered Mexico's premier experimental short story writer of the 20th century. Arreola is recognized as one of the first Latin American writers to abandon realism; he used elements of fantasy to underscore existentialist and absurdist ideas in his work. Although he is little known outside Mexico, Arreola has served as the literary inspiration for a legion of Mexican writers who have sought to transform their country's realistic literary tradition by introducing elements of magical realism, satire, and allegory. Alongside Jorge Luis Borges, he is considered one of the masters of the hybrid subgenre of the essay-story. Arreola is primarily known for his short stories and he only published one novel, La feria.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">National Library of Argentina</span>

The Mariano Moreno National Library is the largest library in Argentina. It is located in the barrio of Recoleta in Buenos Aires. The library is named after Mariano Moreno, one of the ideologists of the May Revolution and its first director.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Circular Ruins</span> Short story by Jorge Luis Borges

"The Circular Ruins" is a short story by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. First published in the literary journal Sur in December 1940, it was included in the 1941 collection The Garden of Forking Paths and the 1944 collection Ficciones. It was first published in English in View, translated by Paul Bowles. Since publication, it has become one of Borges' best-known stories.

"Shakespeare's Memory" is a short story by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges originally published in 1983, in the book of the same name. This is one of Borges' last stories, but it differs little, both thematically and stylistically from the much earlier stories that made him famous. The story's themes include memory, Shakespeare, and writing.

<i>The Book of Sand</i> (short story collection) 1975 book by Jorge Luis Borges

The Book of Sand is a 1975 short story collection by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. In the author's opinion, the collection, written relatively late in his career — and while blind — is his best book. This opinion is not shared by most critics, many of whom prefer his other works such as those in Ficciones (1944).

"The Congress" is a 1971 short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The story is on an utopic universal congress and is seen by critics as a political essay.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jorge Aravena Llanca</span>

Jorge Aravena Llanca is a Chilean photographer, writer, researcher and singer-songwriter from Pichilemu. Aravena Llanca currently resides in Berlin, Germany, and is a professor at the Free University of Berlin.

Concepción Méndez Cuesta was a leading Spanish poet and dramatist and member of the Generation of '27 who became known in the literary world under the name Concha Mendez.

"There Are More Things" is a short story written by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges in 1975. It was first published in the short story collection The Book of Sand, as the collection's fourth entry. The story tells of the encounter the narrator has with a monstrous entity inhabiting an equally monstrous house. It bears the dedication "In Memory of H. P. Lovecraft" and accordingly holds many parallels with Lovecraft's stories, employing similar plot devices. The title alludes to Hamlet's lines "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Estela Canto</span> Argentine writer, journalist and translator

Estela Canto was an Argentine writer, journalist and translator best known for her relationship with Jorge Luis Borges.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Baudolino (September 27, 2006). "La memoria de Shakespeare" (in Spanish). Shvoong. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  2. Larry (May 8, 2007). "Shakespeare's Memory" . Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 "La memoria de Shakespeare (1983)" (in Spanish). Sololiteratura. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 Dr. Daniel Gustavo Teobaldi (1999). "La memoria de la escritura" (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  5. 1 2 Ricardo Piglia. "Shakespeare y el último relato: La memoria ajena". Clarín (in Spanish).
  6. 1 2 "30 Days with Borges: Day 4, Shakespeare's Memory, Everything and Nothing". 30 Days with Borges. October 24, 2006. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  7. Oscar Zentner (2003-11-21). "Borges y el fantasma de la realidad" (in Spanish). El Sigma. Retrieved 17 February 2010.