A Borgesian Morphology: Renunciation, Morphology, and World Literature

  • Dominique JullienEmail author
Part of the Literatures of the Americas book series (LOA)


Drawing primarily on Borges’s essays on Buddhism written in the critical decade of the Fifties, this chapter sets up the Borgesian paradigm for Renunciation stories. Borges emphasizes their transcultural and transhistorical circulation—an idea that interfaces with his anti-nationalist aesthetics in “The Argentine Writer and Tradition”—and suggests a theory of literature as “morphology” (a notion borrowed from Goethe): a potentially infinite number of poems and stories generated by transformation of a finite number of “archetypes”. Alongside this morphological conception of literature, the theme of apolitical withdrawal and the figure of Buddha as Renouncer also assume a heightened significance in the context of Argentina’s postwar political history.


Buddha Renunciation Goethe Morphology Archetype Circulation 

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of French and Italian, Comparative Literature ProgramUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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