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

Chapter 20 - The English Romantics and Borges

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


For Borges, English literature was the richest in the world, and he came across the Romantics as a boy. Neither Wordsworth nor Byron appealed much, but Keats impressed him as the greatest lyrical poet in the English language, and he wrote ’Keats’s Nightingale’ (1952), which is a significant essay. Borges had an ambiguous relationship with Coleridge, and he penned ’Coleridge’s Flower’, using it as an occasion to attack authorial individuality. ’Coleridge’s Dream’ echoes ’Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ in its treatment of the idea that idealist objects can invade our world. Finally, with De Quincey Borges shared the view that everything in the world was a mirror of the universe, or a set of symbols; De Quincey also provided him with a style or grammar of writing.