Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Reading and Writing ‘a destiempo’: The Figure of the Museum in Borges

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2015), 92, (3), 299–318.

Abstract

In 1936–1937, Borges published a serial collection of rare and curious literary citations under the title Museo in the magazine Destiempo. The textual museum lifts its quotations ‘out of time’ by removing them from their original texts and contexts. These fragments function as metonyms of world literature. A perennial Argentine question is how to write literature in a peripheral culture that is a destiempo, to pun on the title of the magazine. Borges obviates Argentina’s untimeliness by negating time altogether through the metaphor of the museum. In appropriating, modifying, reinterpreting, and reorganizing fragments of world literature, Museo further demonstrates Borges’ claim that ‘Nuestro patrimonio es el universo’. My intervention remedies the critical neglect of Borges’ use of the museum as a powerful and multifaceted metaphor for exploring time, identity, reality, perception, and language.

Access Token
£25.00

Black, Barbara, 2000. On Exhibit: Victorians and their Museums (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press). On Exhibit: Victorians and their Museums Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis, 1996. Obras Completas (Buenos Aires: Emecé), I–IV. Obras Completas I IV Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis, 1999. Borges en Sur (Buenos Aires: Emecé). Borges en Google Scholar

Borges, Jorge Luis, and Adolfo Bioy Casares, 2002. Museo: Textos Inéditos, ed. Sara Luisa del Carril and Mercedes Rubio de Zocchi (Buenos Aires: Emecé). Museo: Textos Inéditos Google Scholar

Camblong, Ana María, and Adolfo de Obieta, 2011. Museo de la novela de la Eterna. Colección Archivos. (México DF: Fondo de Cultura Economica USA). Museo de la novela de la Eterna Google Scholar

Carrino, Frank G., et al., 1974. ‘Introduction’, in José Hernández. The Gaucho Martín Fierro (Albany: State University of New York Press). The Gaucho Martín Fierro Google Scholar

Cole, Henry, 2002. The Collector’s Voice: Critical Readings in the Practice of Collecting, ed. Susan Pearce et al. (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate), III. The Collector’s Voice: Critical Readings in the Practice of Collecting The Museum’s Furnace: Notes Toward a Contextual Reading of Bouvard and Pécuchet Google Scholar

Donato, Eugenio, 1979. ‘The Museum’s Furnace: Notes Toward a Contextual Reading of Bouvard and Pécuchet’, in Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Criticism, ed. Josué Harari (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press), pp. 213–38. The Museum’s Furnace: Notes Toward a Contextual Reading of Bouvard and Pécuchet Textual Strategies: Perspectives in Post-Structuralist Criticism 213 38 Google Scholar

Eliot, T. S., 1921. ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’, in The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism (London: Methuen). Tradition and the Individual Talent The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism Google Scholar

Fernández, Macedonio, 2005a [1967]. Museo de la Novela de la Eterna (Buenos Aires: Corregidor). Museo de la Novela de la Eterna Google Scholar

Fernández, Macedonio, 2005b. Papeles de recienvenido y Continuación de la nada (Buenos Aires: Corregidor). Papeles de recienvenido y Continuación de la nada Google Scholar

Ferrer, Manuel, 1971. Borges y la nada (London: Tamesis). Borges y la nada Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel, 1972. The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon Books). The Archaeology of Knowledge Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel, 1986. Texts/Contexts: Of Other Spaces, Diacritics, 16 (Spring): 22–27. Diacritics 16 22 27 Google Scholar

Goode, G. Brown, 1891. The Museums of the Future (Washington DC: Government Printing Offce). The Museums of the Future Google Scholar

Gresleri, Giuliano, 1991. ‘The Mundaneum Plan’, in In the Footsteps of Le Corbusier, ed. Carlo Palazzolo and Riccardo Vio (New York: Rizzoli), pp. 93–114. The Mundaneum Plan In the Footsteps of Le Corbusier 93 114 Google Scholar

Hernández, José, 1974 [1872]. The Gaucho Martín Fierro (Albany: State University of New York Press). The Gaucho Martín Fierro Google Scholar

Hooper-Greenhill, Eileen, 1992. Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge (New York: Routledge). Museums and the Shaping of Knowledge Google Scholar

Irby, James E., 1971. ‘Borges and the Idea of Utopia’, in Books Abroad, 45.3: 411–20. Borges and the Idea of Utopia Books Abroad 45.3 411 20 Google Scholar

Jevons, W. S., 1883. ‘The Use and Abuse of Museums’, in Methods of Social Reform and Other Papers (London: Macmillan). The Use and Abuse of Museums Methods of Social Reform and Other Papers Google Scholar

Joyce, James, 1993. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (New York: Penguin). A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Google Scholar

Kenyon, Frederic, 1930. Libraries and Museums (London: E. Benn). Libraries and Museums Google Scholar

Lugones, Leopoldo, 1916. El payador (Buenos Aires: Otero Impresores). El payador Google Scholar

Miers, Henry, 1928. Report on The Public Museums of the British Isles (T. and A. Constable). Report on The Public Museums of the British Isles Google Scholar

Mitchell, Timothy, 2000. ‘The Stage of Modernity’, in Questions of Modernity, ed. Timothy Mitchell (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). The Stage of Modernity Questions of Modernity Google Scholar

Monegal, Emir Rodriguez, 1978. Jorge Luis Borges: A Literary Biography (New York: E. P. Dutton). Jorge Luis Borges: A Literary Biography Google Scholar

Murray, David, 1904. Museums: Their History and Their Use (London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press). Museums: Their History and Their Use Google Scholar

Owen, Richard, 1862. On the Extent and Aims of a National Museum of Natural History (London: Saunders, Otley). On the Extent and Aims of a National Museum of Natural History Google Scholar

Piglia, Ricardo, 1992. La ciudad ausente (Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana). La ciudad ausente Google Scholar

Piglia, Ricardo, 1995. ‘Memoria y tradición’ in Modernidad, posmodernidad y vanguardias, ed. Hugo Achugar et al. (Santiago de Chile: Ministerio de Educación), pp. 55–60. Modernidad, posmodernidad y vanguardias 55 60 Google Scholar

Piglia, Ricardo, 1999. Formas Breves (Buenos Aires: Editorial Anagrama). Formas Breves Google Scholar

Rojas, Ricardo, 1924. La literatura argentina; ensayo flosófco sobre la evolución de la cultura en el Plata. 2a. ed. (Buenos Aires: Librería ‘La Facultad’, J. Roldán y c.a.), I. La literatura argentina; ensayo flosófco sobre la evolución de la cultura en el Plata I Google Scholar

Schwartz, John Pedro, 2008. ‘Object Lessons: Teaching Multiliteracies through the Museum’, College English, 71.1 (September): 77–93. Object Lessons: Teaching Multiliteracies through the Museum College English 71.1 77 93 Google Scholar

Taylor, Francis Henry, 1945. Babel’s Tower: The Dilemma of the Modern Museum (New York: Columbia University Press). Babel’s Tower: The Dilemma of the Modern Museum Google Scholar

Valéry, Paul, 1956. The Collected Works of Paul Valéry (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press), XII. The Collected Works of Paul Valéry XII Google Scholar

Watson, Janell, 1999. Literature and Material Culture from Balzac to Proust (New York: Cambridge University Press). Literature and Material Culture from Balzac to Proust Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

SCHWARTZ, JOHN PEDRO