Borges and Buenos Aires

I once heard Jorge Luis Borges lecture. In 1967 or 8 he came to Harvard, and though I only dimly knew who he was, he impressed me with his uncanny presence, unlike anyone I had encountered. But I tried reading his most well-know work, Labyrinths, I never made much progress. Now I think perhaps it was the fault of the translation, as Larry brought a fat book of his nonfiction writing with him, edited by Eliot Weinberger, and I am finding it wonderful.

But as the most illustrious Argentinian writer who lived and worked in Buenos Aires, we have gone to two cafes that claim his frequent presence. Cafe Tortoni has photos and bronze busts, but Cafe Biela, has this ghoulish tableau of Borges and Casares at the entrance.

After that, we decided to eat in the outdoor area under the shade of a huge banyan tree. The park by the cafe was filled with vendors, strolling families, musicians and a vendor ingeniously displaying his feather dusters.

If I lived here, I would surely have bought one.

Then onto the labyrinth of Recoleta Cemetery, with it’s tag line: EXPECTAMUS DOMINUM.

Based on the heft and grandeur of the tombs, I imagine they expect to wait a long time.

 

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