Jorge Louis Borges was born in Buenos Aires in 1899.
He was chiefly educated in Geneva and Spain. Whilst studying in Spain, Borges became familiar with a then vogue literary vanguard known as ‘Ultraism’, a sort of quasi-expressionism. Upon his return to Argentina in 1921, he banded together with a group of poets and began composing the ‘mural magazine’ or poetry poster ‘Prisma. Prisma’, posted on kiosks and walls around Buenos Aires, advancing the tenets of Ultraism, a major influence on Borges’s early writings.
In 1923, Borges published his first book of verse, ‘Fervor de Buenos Aires’. Following this, he began to write prolifically, branching from poetry into an eclectic assortment of essays and masterful short stories. Borges’s surreal and fantastic short stories are elaborate intellectual puzzles where he artfully uses paradox and ambiguity to create cryptic, playful, and vertiginously imagined stories that reveal insights of universal proportion. His best known collected stories are ‘Historia Universal de la Infam’a ‘(1935), ‘Tlsn, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ (1938), ‘El Jard’n de Senderos que se bifurcan’ (1941), ‘Ficciones’ (1955, English translation 1962), and ‘El Aleph’ (1949).
He first became known in Europe through French translations in the mid-1940s, and he achieved international fame in 1961 when he shared the Formentor Prize with Samuel Beckett for ‘Ficciones’. Though unsuccessfully battling blindness, Borges was by then lecturing as a guest professor at North American universities, including the University of Texas at Austin of which he was particularly fond. He returned to Geneva prior to his death in 1986.