Painting Borges

Philosophy Interpreting Art Interpreting Literature

By Jorge J. E. Gracia

Subjects: Philosophy, Art Theory, Latin American Studies
Series: SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Paperback : 9781438441788, 322 pages, February 2012
Hardcover : 9781438441771, 322 pages, February 2012

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Table of contents

1. Introduction
I. Painted Stories
2. The Other
3. Funes, the Memorious
4. The South
5. The Interloper
6. The Garden of Forking Paths
7. The Circular Ruins
8. The House of Asterion
9. The Immortal
10. The Rose of Paracelsus
11. The Writing of the God
12. The Secret Miracle
13. The Gospel According to Mark
II. Identity and Interpretation

14. Literature, Art, and Philosophy
15. Interpretation
16. Painting Borges
17. Limits of Interpretation
Painting Borges: Art Interpreting Literature

A provocative examination of the artistic interpretation of twelve of Borges’s most famous stories.


In this groundbreaking book, Jorge J. E. Gracia explores the artistic interpretation of fiction from a philosophical perspective. Focusing on the work of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the most celebrated literary figures of Latin America, Gracia offers original interpretations of twelve of Borges's most famous stories about identity and memory, freedom and destiny, and faith and divinity. He also examines twenty-four artistic interpretations of these stories—two for each—by contemporary Argentinean and Cuban artists such as Carlos Estévez, León Ferrari, Mirta Kupferminc, Nicolás Menza, and Estela Pereda. This philosophical exploration of how artists have interpreted literature contributes to both aesthetics and hermeneutics, makes new inroads into the understanding of Borges's work, and introduces readers to two of the most vibrant artistic currents today. Color images of the artworks discussed are included.

Jorge J. E. Gracia is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel P. Capen Chair in Philosophy and Comparative Literature at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. His many books include Images of Thought: Philosophical Interpretations of Carlos Estévez's Art and Identity, Memory, and Diaspora: Voices of Cuban-American Artists, Writers, and Philosophers, both also published by SUNY Press.


"Painting Borges is a very well conceived work on a topic that is provocative and challenging … This literary analysis is extremely accessible to literature and art lovers of all walks of life. " — Hispania

"Jorge Gracia's book, Painting Borges, is a rather curious object, springing from an audacious intellectual challenge … The outcome is a rich and vivid piece of writing and questioning. " — Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"…an engaging, thought-provoking treatise on the artistic interpretation of fiction from a philosophical perspective, a study that conjoins aesthetics and hermeneutics … a book for all in every season … Highly recommended. " — CHOICE

"From Michel Foucault to Arthur Danto, the use of Borges to analyze art isn't new, but Painting Borges goes a step further: it looks at Borges as an inspiration to painters while also interpreting hermeneutically the way he himself looked at things through his blind eyes. I found Jorge J. E. Gracia's volume provocative, engaging, and exhaustive in its approach. " — Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture, Amherst College