Everything and nothing: On Jorge Luis Borges's "Kafka and his precursors"

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This article is an analysis of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges's short text "Kafka and His Precursors." Although appearing to be an example of literary criticism, Borges's essay is in fact the exploration of a certain logical paradox. It is a paradox that is to be found throughout Borges's work, with the result that "Kafka and His Precursors" can be read as a disguised literary manifesto on the part of Borges. I also explore the consequences of Borges's essay for thinking about questions of cultural transmission. I argue that Borges' work lives on-like those literary, religious and philosophical traditions he admires-because its most profound subject is the relationship it has with the person who reads it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-141
Number of pages13
JournalRomance Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Borges
  • cultural transmission
  • Kafka
  • logical paradox

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