Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Schools : Celebrate Jorge Luis Borges !

Jorge Luís Borges, Sicília/ Palermo/ Italy (1984)
 credits: Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum

Today, Google honors with a fantastic doodle the 122th birthday of one of the most important  writers of the XXth century, Jorge Luis Borges

Google is giving tribute to another legend of Literature this year, after the French writer Jules Verne (February 8) and the Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa (June 13), this time the Argentine writer Jose Luis Borges.

Google Doodle 112th Birthday of Jorge Luís Borges

"The Doodle draws heavily from Borges work, it shows different architecture, buildings and the great man himself. 

Everything has been designed to mimic the outline of the letters which make up the traditional Google logo. It reminds us a lot of Inception, perhaps that film drew from Borges ideas."

Who konws if Inception is a science-fiction movie whose sceneries and ideas about subconscious really remind us Borges.

Jorge Luis Borges  was an Argentine writer best known today for his fantastic short stories and influential essays and poetry. Borges' works have contributed to philosophical literature and the fantasy genre.


He was born in an educated middle-class family on August, 24th 1899 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He died on June 14, 1986. He is a famous writer, poet, essayist and translator.

In 1914, Borges moved with his family to Switzerland, where he began to study languages (German, French, Latin). From his early days he used to speak english where he attended school and traveled to Spain.

He returned to Argentina in 1921, where he began publishing his poems and essays in surrealist literary journals.

He also worked as a librarian and public lecturer. In 1955 he was appointed director of the National Public Library - Biblioteca Nacional - and professor of Literature at the University of Buenos Aires.

In 1961, he came to international attention when Borges received the first  International Publishers’ Prize, the Prix Formentor. In 1971 he won the Jerusalem Prize.

His work was translated and published widely in the United States and in Europe. Borges himself was fluent in several languages.

He died in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1986.

"His works have contributed to the genre of science fiction as well as the genre of magical realism, a genre that reacted against the realism/naturalism of the nineteenth century. In fact, critic Angel Flores, the first to use the term, set the beginning of this movement with Borges’s Historia universal de la infamia (1935).
His late poems dialogue with such cultural figures as Spinoza, Camões, and Virgil.”

In our days, people know Jorge Luis Borges more by his short stories, compiled in the books Ficciones (1944) and The Aleph (1949) drew heavily on dreams, ornate architechture, religion, libraries and animals.

He is widely acclaimed as one of the main contributors to modern day science fiction.

Though he didn’t received Nobel Prize in Literature, but he is an awesome writer. He deserved to bo honored with  the Nobel Prize.

Jorge Luís Borges
credits: Spinnnetto
Museo del Humor/ Argentina


“That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you're not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.” 

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Teaching Literature is awesome. I love to do it. And I prepare my courses wtih so much enthousiam because I love books! Books are fascinating.

A teacher who loves books literature lessons are a great success among students. They will be captivated, even the reluctant readers. Perhaps some of them will dare to begin to write? Not the first time, believe me!

Literature curriculum about Jules Verne, Fernando Pessoa or Jorge Luís Borges are  easier now. We have new tools, wonderful devices.

"With today's technology every corner of the world is linked together. The new generations are globalized."

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
message for International Mother Day 2011

Jorge Luis Borges
credits: Krygsma

Some months ago, I suggested in my post Languages matter different activities for students in Languages curriculum (all levels in Education).

In my posts Reading Jules Verne, the father of sci-fiction, Let's celebrate the great Fernando PessoaI suggested different activities to include into Literature curriculum (Secondary Education).

And more... please use the tag Literature on my bloh and you will find some other interesting ideas.

Jorge Luís Borges
credits: Luis Silva


Social media are good resources to include into school curricula. Students to develop critical thinking and several projects can be done with students and teachers from different schools and other countries.

Dare to use social networking in your courses. Students will be enthousiastic.

Of course, don't forget Libraries! A Library is the most value to do some schoolar research. Of course you know Borges' quote:

" I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library"

Visit Biblioteca Nacional de Argentina where  "Jornadas Internacionales Borges lector" are taking place from today August 24 to August 26.

"Above all, literature keeps language alive as our collective heritage"

Umberto Eco, on literature, 2002

Listen Jorge Luis Borges' poem, Happiness read by John Berger in the video below:

Writer and essayist J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize 2003 said:

"He, (Borges) more than anyone, renovated the language of fiction and thus opened the way to a remarkable generation of Spanish American novelists."

José Saramago, Portuguese writer, dead in 2010, Nobel Prize in Literature 1998, promoted an important conference about Jorge Luis Borges at his Fondation Saramago in 2008 to honor Borges.

Borges vision beginning to fade in his early thirties, grown on him gradually and settled in for good after his fifty-eighth birthday.

"Scholars also have suggested that Borges’s progressive blindness helped him to create innovative literary symbols through imagination."

No one should read self-pity or reproach
Into this statement of the majesty
Of God; who with such splendid irony,
Granted me books and blindness at one touch

Jorge Luis Borges, Obituary Paul Goussec



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