Williamson’s bio reminds me that Borges died in June 1986 in Geneva, where he went with his wife with the intent never to return to Argentina. Borges had lived in Geneva as a young man, and also seems to have imagined the Swiss ideal — independent neutrality — as a possible model for his troubled nation. So much of his work seems to be about creating an imaginative space of separation and distance from the pressures of reality, and also about the impossibility of doing so. Interesting that he may have envisioned Switzerland (which I always think of as a fairly dull place) as part of that project.
I also remember hearing of Borges’s death when I was in college, and thinking, as I almost never think when famous writers die, that I’d lost a chance to see him in person. A classmate of mine had heard him speak at Andover, I think, and my freshman lit prof had somewhat pompously described his “lunch with Borges” during class that spring. I can think of very few 20c writers who I’d rather have heard speak.
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