Borges : philology as poetry

  • The titles of many of Borges's poems refer to canonical texts of world literature. One poem, for example, deals with the ending of the Odyssey and is simply called "A scholion"; others are called "Inferno V, 129" and "Paradise XXXI, 108", referring both to Dante's "Divine Comedy". These titles indicate that in his poems, Borges often keeps his distance from traditional poetical matters such as love, or, more generally, immediate emotions. Instead, he writes poems that gloss other texts, some of which actually relate love stories. Thus, Borges's poems stage themselves as philological commentaries rather than as poetry in its own right. In a similar vein and on a more general level, Borges likes to present himself in poems, interviews, and essays as a fervent reader of world literature, playing down his role as an original author. [...] In the following two sections of his paper, Joachim Harst tackles this question by commenting on two of Borges's philological poems, namely, the two texts on Dante's "Comedy". A ready objection to the idea of "philological poetry" is that despite Borges's selfstaging as reader, his texts obviously aren't philological in any academic sense. [...] The fundamental role of love for Dante's cosmological vision leads Harst to another understanding of the term "philology," namely, its more or less literal translation as "love of the lógos," the "lógos" being the cosmic principle and the divine word. Dante's Comedy can be considered a "philological" text in the sense that it is fueled by the "love of the lógos," and it discusses this love by citing, glossing and correcting other texts on love. Returning to Borges, Harst suggests that his two "philological" poems on Dante refer to this understanding of "philology." But by modifying the epic's theological underpinnings, they work to integrate Dante into a larger system which Borges calls "universal literature." Harst claims that this notion of literature, just like Dante's cosmos, is also centered on a lógos—albeit differently structured—and in this sense "philological."

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Author:Joachim HarstORCiDGND
Parent Title (German):Komparatistik : Jahrbuch der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
Publisher:Aisthesis Verlag
Place of publication:Bielefeld
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2019
Year of first Publication:2018
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2019/12/03
Tag:Borges, Jorge Luis: Inferno V, 129; Borges, Jorge Luis: Paradiso XXXI, 108
GND Keyword:Dante Alighieri; Divina Commedia; Rezeption; Borges, Jorge Luis; Liebe <Motiv>; Philologie
Page Number:15
First Page:124
Last Page:138
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / Aisthesis Verlag
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:Komparatistik : Jahrbuch der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / Komparatistik : Jahrbuch der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft ; 2017
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht