Book reviewInvisible work: Borges and translation Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2001. xxiv + 213 pp. ISBN 0-8265-1408-1 $ 22.95.
Reviewed by Ilse Logie
Table of contents
The Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (Buenos Aires, 1899–Geneva, 1986) is universally acknowledged as a central figure in twentieth-century literature, but his work as a translator is only just beginning to receive the attention it deserves. With his study Invisible work: Borges and translation, Efraín Kristal (professor of Spanish and comparative literature at UCLA) highlights what is still considered a minor aspect of Borges’s oeuvre. The title, Invisible work, refers to Borges’s famous tale “Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote”, and reveals Kristal’s main purpose: he wants to ‘make visible’, to offer an account of the role translation plays in Borges’s writings. Not only was Borges himself a translator (he introduced fantastic and detective fiction into the Spanish- American canon), also some of his most important characters are translators, many of his fictional works are actual or imagined translations and finally, translation is a recurrent motif in his stories.