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Borges and KafkaSons and Writers$
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Sarah Roger

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198746157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198746157.001.0001

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Biographical Predecessors and Literary Precursors

Biographical Predecessors and Literary Precursors

(p.1) 1 Biographical Predecessors and Literary Precursors
Borges and Kafka

Sarah Roger

Oxford University Press

In 1938, Borges published a collection of Spanish translations of Kafka’s stories. He also mourned the death of his father, and he suffered an accident that he later credited for his transition from writing poetry to writing prose fiction. Building on the conjunction of these events, this chapter provides a theoretical basis for Borges’s approach to Kafka by looking at the tradition of literary critics who have written about biography and influence. Borges belonged to the group of critics who believe that biography can illuminate an author’s works; indeed, Borges believed that Kafka’s writing was influenced by the events of Kafka’s life. Borges also believed that an author’s work could be brought to life by the writings of his successor. As such, this chapter argues that a reading of Borges’s stories can shed light on the literary works of Kafka and Borges père (Jorge Guillermo).

Keywords:   biography, biographical criticism, Borges, influence, Kafka, precursor

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