That Borges is one of the key figures in 20th-century literature is beyond debate. The reasons behind this claim, however, are a matter of contention. In Latin America he is read as someone who reorganized the canon, questioned literary hierarchies, and redefined the role of marginal literatures. On the other hand, in the rest of the world, most readers (and dictionaries) tend to identify the adjective "Borgesian" with intricate metaphysical puzzles and labyrinthine speculations of universal reach, completely detached from particular traditions. One reading is context-saturated, while the other is context-deprived. Oddly enough, these "institutional" and "transcendental" approaches have not been pitched against each other in a critical way. Borges, between History and Eternity brings these perspectives together by considering key aspects of Borges's work-the reciprocal determinations of politics, philosophy and literature; the simultaneously confining and emancipating nature of language; and the incipient program for a literature of the Americas.
“A splendid book. Intelligent, illuminating, original, worthy of its ambitious subject. I have read it with increasing pleasure, and finished it feeling I now had a better understanding of Borges's seemingly simple and apparent, but in fact deeply mysterious intelligence.” – Alberto Manguel,
“The arena of Borges criticism is a crowded firmament and some of its stars are very dim indeed; by mediating two hardline critical positions, Díaz's book adds to the luster and depth of the field.” – Publishers Weekly
“Just when all seemed lost, Borges, Between History and Eternity proves there's still life in the Borges studies galaxy. Life of the best kind, which in the world of literary criticism means precision, intellectual agility, microscopically close reading and, above all, the will to go against the grain of the most respected conventional wisdom. To dismantle the old dilemma of Borges studies-Borges, universal or local? Metaphysical or down-to-earth? Abstract or political?-Hernán Díaz exhumes a critical dagger that in his hands shines as though drawn for the first time: the chiasmus. Which is to say the swinging operation that requires crossing and interchanging the terms of an opposition that once seemed ironclad. Thus Díaz finds the Borges most engaged with history in his most conceptual texts, and the most conceptual Borges in those fictions most deeply rooted in national identity. History and eternity, as Díaz sees them in Borges, are no longer antithetical terms: they are poles linked by a healthy and diabolic reciprocal equivalence that can't help but disquiet us. To take a writer about whom we thought we knew everything and render him disquieting-what more can we ask from a book of criticism?” – Alan Pauls,
“This book explores two aspects of the work of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The first part of the book examines the relationship between politics and metaphysics in some of Borges' works. The second part analyses how two American writers, Edgar Allan Poe and Walt Whitman, figure into Borges's oeuvre. Additionally, the book discusses Borges's influence on some North American writers - for example, Thomas Pynchon and John Barth. Diaz (Columbia Univ.) wants to show how Borges's metaphysical discussions have, to a large extent, political connotations, and conversely, how his historical and social concerns are informed and influenced by metaphysical ideas. The study aims to reveal that the most common ("framed") literary structure in Borges's fiction, one that encapsulates another fiction inside another one, and so on, has political connotations: power consists in imposing fictions as realities. Valuable for anyone interested in Borges, this book includes an excellent up-to-date bibliography and a detailed index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, faculty.” – Choice (J.S. Bottaro, Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York)
“Borges, between History and Eternity is a meticulously argued, intelligent and expertly articulated reading of Borges. It offers an important addition to Borges criticism, and should be valued as such.” – Bulletin of Spanish Studies