August 10, 2008

Strange Forces by Leopoldo Lugones, trans. Gilbert Alter-Gilbert

This post now resides on my other site 50 Watts:


  1. What did you make of Strange Forces? I read it last year & on balance thought it was good, and interesting, but not outstanding: The Firestorm was, for me, by far the most striking story in the collection.

  2. I like the post, but I would say it misrepresents Borges and Lugones relations, which were far from positive for the first 10 years or so of Borges' career. Your account of the link between both writers would benefit from going back in time and read Borges' essays of the 20's, to see the nasty and horrible things Borges had to say about Lugones during those years. Then he changed and I even believe that part of Borges' literary career could be explained in relation with the guilt he felt about the way he treated Lugones when he himself was a young man. His early criticism of Lugones is included both in his published books of the 20s (Inquisiciones, El tamaƱo de mi esperanza, El idioma de los argentinos), and in the many articles he published in periodicals during that decade (later collected in "Textos recobrados").

  3. Thanks for your comment.

    This brief post wasn't intended to get into Argentine literary politics (and I did intend that opening line to grab a few eyeballs). I know Alter-Gilbert discusses the entertaining (and nasty) Borges/Lugones back-and-forth in his intro to Strange Forces (I may be misremembering, but I think Lugones at one point wanted to kill Borges for his insulting reviews!). Borges has a lot to say about Lugones (and the guilt you mention) in these interviews (English version just reprinted by the company I work for).