I'm reading Ficciones. So far, the book is great, but am I the only one who finds most of the references unnecessary?
>En la literatura de este hemisferio (como en el mundo subsistente de Meinong) abundan los objetos ideales
Why was the reference to Meinong's ideal objects necessary? It provides no further clarification of what is going on in the text.
>De esta estructura cabe repetir lo que declaró Schopenhauer de las doce categorías kantianas: todo lo sacrifica a un furor simétrico.
Here the names Schopenhauer or Kant hardly matter, it's hardly saying more than "like X said about Y".
Borges sometimes likes to write in a pastiche of academic styles. I think you can figure it out from there...
They may also serve the same purpose as the contradictory details he often throws in. Not exactly misdirection, nor confusion... relativism, something in between all these.
No need to understand any references, beyond perhaps the basics of mythology in a couple cases. They enrich, but aren't required.
You can just dive in but are going to miss some references here and there. Reading Borges can be a taxing task and he really puts a lot into his texts. Sure you can read certain philosophers that are relevant to his thinking but every time you come back to him, you're going to find out that you grew up and can enjoy details that slipped your mind before.
Borges isn't entry level, his use and knowledge of the Spanish language is superb and yes, he tends to make long references that seem out of place until you learn to enjoy them.
Give it time, read it slow and most of all, keep in mind that he was one incredibly well read writer that had no intention of lowering standards to make his work accessible.
His stories are written like academic papers to give them an air of veracity. You don't need to know what the fuck he's referencing. Hell, I'm half convinced some of them are made up. When he starts mentioning obscure 12th century Armenian theological manuscripts it's almost comical.
I really think you have problems going past the very literal sense of Borges' words. "Tlon, Uqbar..." is a retake on the tension between idealist and realist philosophies. More than anything else, it is a story about philosophical systems. Which is why all his references in this story are about other philosophers. Meinong, Kant, Hegel, etc.
>to blur the line between fiction and reality?
I think so, yes - it suits his magical realist style well. It offers him a way connecting story elements to the world as a whole, and so widens the scope of the story. Whether what he's referencing is fictional or real is purposefully unclear, so that widened scope not only goes back on the fictional world of the story, but also our real world, which is not clearly demarcated from the imaginary. Maybe Kant said that thing, maybe he didn't - but as long as it's plausible enough that he did, what is true in the story can also be true in real life.
Also I think Borges just thinks it's fun.
yeah, like in The Theologians, I almost thought that the Monotones were a real group of people
desu, I think most of the references are for his pleasure rather than the readers. he likes to show off how well read he is.
I think the references serve as a kind of worldbuilding, in the sense of giving a sense of reality to the fictional world of the story but also vice versa. The references to real things pull the events of his stories into the real world in a sense. Also, to me anyway, the unreal references and events cast a bit of mystery onto reality. This is most explicit in stories like 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius' and 'Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote'.