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Reading Groups

Borges and Friends: An Online Reading Group led by Sam Rutter


Four Sessions

Out of stock

Every Other Week Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EST - 8:30 pm EST May 27 to July 8, 2020

7 – 8:30pm ET via Zoom
5/27, 6/10, 6/24, 7/8

Argentina’s Jorge Luis Borges is arguably the most influential short story writer of the 20th century, conjuring alternate realities, infinite libraries and arcane mythologies in a few brief pages. But he was far from alone in shaping the course of Latin American literature. In this reading group, we will take our time discussing the fascinating stories collected in Fictions, before reading short novels by Adolfo Bioy Casares and Silvina Ocampo, masterful writers in their own right and lifelong friends of Borges and other figures of the Buenos Aires avant-garde scene.

  • Week 1: We will discuss the stories collected in Part 1 (“The Garden of Forking Paths”) in Jorge Luis Borges’ Fictions. Please read the following short stories: “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote,” “The Circular Ruins,” “The Lottery in Babylon,” “A Survey of the Works of Herbert Quain,” “The Library of Babel,” and “The Garden of Forking Paths.”
  • Week 2: We will discuss the stories collected in Part 2 (“Artifices”) in Jorge Luis Borges’ Fictions. Please read the following short stories: “Funes the Memorious”, “The Theme of the Traitor and the Hero”, “Death and the Compass”, “The Secret Miracle”, “Three Versions of Judas”, “The End”, “The Cult of the Phoenix”, “The South.”
  • Week 3: Discussion of Adolfo Bioy Casares’ masterful The Invention of Morel. Set on an island in Polynesia, Bioy’s novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious. Includes a foreword by JL Borges.
  • Week 4: Legend has it that Silvina Ocampo worked on The Promise for over twenty-five years, right up to her death in 1993. In this novel, a woman reminisces about her life, and lets her imagination get away with her, after falling overboard into the sea—a reflection of Ocampo’s own struggles with dementia and her interest in memory and identity. Translator Suzanne Jill Levine will be joining us via Zoom at the end of this meeting for a brief Q&A.

Required Books:
Click links to purchase.

Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares

The Promise by Silvina Ocampo


Led by

  • Samuel Rutter

    Sam Rutter

    Sam Rutter

    Samuel Rutter is a writer and translator from Melbourne, Australia with an extensive research background in contemporary literature from Latin America. He has translated novels, stories, screenplays and comics from French, Spanish and Catalan, and was awarded a PEN Translates Prize in 2016. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The White Review, Gulf Coast, and T Magazine.