Francis Cairns Publications

Liverpool Monographs in Hispanic Studies 11

Borges' Narrative Strategy

D.L. Shaw

LMHS 11. ISBN 978-0-905205-84-7. Cloth. viii+191pp. 1992.

There is general consensus about the meaning of most of the stories of Jorge Luis Borges, perhaps the best known and most cosmopolitan Latin American writer of the twentieth century. Professor Shaw turns to the less examined area of structure and narrative method. Over sixty tales, from all the main collections, are brought into play to illustrate such techniques as framing devices, pivotal episodes, shifting themes and inlaid details. The process reveals Borges' craftsmanship and ability to tailor form to content; in some cases, Shaw suggests, formal arrangement functions as a metaphor of Borges' ideas about reality.


1 Understanding a Borges Story

2 Early Strategies

3 Opening Strategies

4 Framing Devices

5 Pivotal Episodes and Shifting Themes

6 Interludes and Inlaid Details

7 Narratorial Stances

8 Closing Strategies

9 Conclusion


Index of Stories


Hispanic Review 62 (1994) 305-7 (Frank Dauster): "a book which sends off a good many sparks and which will be a necessary item in future critical arsenals"

Revista Interamericana de Bibliografia 42 (1992) 509-10 (Didier T. Jaén): "Shaw offers some original and, at times, controversial interpretations, but his main contribution is to emphasize and delineate Borges' skills as an artificer of narratives, which is, after all, one of the main ways Borges saw himself."

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 71 (1994) 511-12 (Peter Beardsell): "All students of Borges should therefore avail themselves of the tuition in this volume, for it will lead towards a greater proficiency in reading Borges. The methods are clear, the comments perceptive, and the main arguments convincing."

Forum for Modern Language Studies 30 (1994) 383-4 (brief notice)