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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: January 2020

Chapter 18 - Borges’s Shakespeare

from Part II - The Western Canon, the East, Contexts of Reception

Summary

In Shakespeare, Borges found a precursor of his own philosophical preoccupations with the negation of personal identity and with the transmission of a cultural legacy. ’Everything and Nothing’ (1960) and the later ’A Page on Shakespeare’ (1964) explore the first of these concerns. Compensating somewhat for his sense of nothingness, Shakespeare exploited the roles of actor and playwright to create and impersonate multiple selves. Regarding him as the epitome of reworking and recycling pre-existent stories and plots, Borges exemplifies a flawed approach to Shakespeare’s legacy in the character of Sogel in a late story entitled ’Shakespeare’s Memory’.

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