Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Space as a Metafictional Marker: Borges' 'Tema del traidor y del héroe'and Bertolucci's Strategia del ragno

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2010), 87, (8), 977–994.

Abstract

In this study, I analyse space as a key marker of the metafictional characteristic of Jorge Luis Borges' story 'Tema del traidor y del héroe' (in Ficciones) and Bernardo Bertolucci's film Strategia del ragno. I contend that the presentation of space – this understudied 'other' with regard to time in criticism of Borges – is a major aspect of the self-referential questioning at stake in his work. The descriptions of changeable places, or the blurring of binary oppositions such as the distinction of a stage versus an audience, highlight this questioning of habitual practices of writing and reading space in the literary medium. Similarly, Bertolucci, in his movie inspired by Borges' short story, presents a plurality of puzzling stages, distortions of spatial differentiations and metafilmic commentaries on the medium's techniques and effects of staging and, therefore, draws attention to the challenges of cinematographic (re)presentation.

Este estudio examina la función meta-ficticia del espacio en el cuento 'Tema del traidor y del héroe' (Ficciones) de Jorge Luis Borges y la película Strategia del ragno de Bernardo Bertolucci, inspirada en el cuento. Arguyo que la creación del espacio – este 'otro' con respecto a la noción del tiempo, a menudo pasado por alto por la crítica sobre Borges –, es un aspecto clave del cuestionamiento metanarrativo presente en su obra. Las descripciones de espacios cambiantes y maniobras de difuminar oposiciones binarias, por ejemplo la división entre un escenario y la sala de espectadores, subrayan el afán de poner en tela de juicio las prácticas acostumbradas de escribir y leer el espacio en el medio literario. Bertolucci a su vez presenta pluralidades de escenarios entrelazados y comentarios meta-fílmicos acerca de las técnicas y los efectos del proceso de escenificación, recalcando así las dificultades de una (re-)presentación cinematográfica.

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Kressner, Ilka