Collected Fictions Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 79 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Collected Fictions.
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Collected Fictions Summary & Study Guide Description

Collected Fictions Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges.

Jorge Luis Borges has written many stories, from less than a page long to up to about 15 pages, that are collected in this volume. The first collection, A Universal History of Iniquity, deals with many criminals from Argentina, China, the United States and other areas. Many of these stories are based on actual events, but have been so altered by the author as to constitute real fictional works. The second collection, "the Garden of Forking Paths" is a series of longer stories that involved mainly fantastic topics. Some of these, such as "the Library of Babel" involve satirical accounts of the author's work in a library, which he did for many years. Geometries and mathematics affect many of the author's stories, including a fascination with the maze or the labyrinth. "The Garden of Forking Paths" is a story about a literary and military intelligence labyrinth, imposed on a garden that is physically a bit of a maze.

The collection of stories from 1944 is called "Artifices." The themes of treason and crime are prominent. The fate of Jews being persecuted and killed in Nazi-occupied Europe is clearly on the author's mind. This is the case in the story "the Secret Miracle" which is about a Jewish victim. Other stories are more subtle, with a Jewish detective falling victim to Jewish criminals in "Death and the Compass," after crimes at a Rabbinical Conference. Stories involve questions of courage, identity, and, a sometimes theme of the author's stories, the Knife Fight.

In the next collection, the Aleph, mystical themes are introduced, as well as ideas and legends from the Islamic world. The volume, "the Maker" is difficult in that many of the stories are less than a page, being merely sketches of themes. These themes run from the assassinations of political leaders to modern interpretations of classic works such as Dante's Divine Comedy and Cervantes' Don Quixote. These short works are continued in the collections "Museum" and "In Praise of Darkness."

"Brodie's Report" returns the reader to a collection of more substantial stories. These stories are often painful tales of the ignorance and violence of the frontier in Argentina and Uruguay. Duels range from knife fights and political killings to the styled rivalry of society ladies in the story "the Duel." The collection, "the Book of Sand" is filled with mystical tales of fantasy, as well as the horrors of political assassination in "Avelino Arredondo" and more tales of the wild days in Argentina and Uruguay. The story "the Bribe" has a rare insight into attitudes in the United States. The last collection, "Shakespeare's Memory" is sharp, though the author is already old and blind. The story "August 23, 1983" gives the author a chance to tell of his change in identity with his aging. The other three stories are based on fantasy, though mostly having realistic plot lines. "Shakespeare's Memory" is about a writer trying to assimilate new powers that he or she has not earned.

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