Piranesi | Designing from Ruins of AntiquityAmong the many conundrums of Jorge Luis Borges’ story “The Immortal” is the City of Immortals. The Immortal by Jorge Luis Borges. First Edition Provenance: February as a short story (Publisher unknown). Excerpt Provenance. By Jorge Luis Borges, Adolfo Bioy Caeares, and Norman Thomas di No longer subject to the exigencies of corporeality, they were immortal.

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The Immortal (short story)

But when all of our needs are met, we can reflect on the past and we can contemplate on the future. The Thr deals with several themes which are present throughout much of Borges’ writing; one such theme is immortality.

I know that you and the other Borges are in every human I may encounter, so I will tell you now that I too am Borges and the other Borges.

The story is about a character who embarks on a journey to achieve immortality, and after mistakenly acquiring it and weary of a long life, struggles to lose it and writes an account of his experiences. He was like a god who created first the Cosmos, and then Chaos. In my chest I felt a painful throbbing, and I burned with thirst.

The constant symbol of the infinite is the labyrinth, which represents a dynamic of personal choice within the infinite permutations of existence. When humans live solely in the present world, we become like animals as well.

Jorge Luis Borges’ City of the Immortals (Utopias and Dystopias #5)

Borges brilliantly layers up the interior space with psychological responses of the user, creating a narrative that blurs the boundaries of walls, mind and reason. Borges also comments on literary idealism in which the identities of component authors HomerShakespeare and Borges himself appear to merge into one another.

Your email address will not be published. Notify me of new comments via email. He has entered a realm of namelessness, a realm where the individual dies and returns to the cosmic fold of anonymity. I do not want to describe it; a chaos of heterogeneous words, the body of a tiger or a bull pullulating with teeth, organs, and heads monstrously yoked together yet hating each other—those might, perhaps, be approximate images. Flavius, the Getulian proconsul, entrusted two hundred soldiers to me for the venture; I also recruited a number of mercenaries who claimed they knew the roads, and who were the first to desert.


I know not how long I wandered under the earth; I do know that from time to time, in a confused dream of home, I conflated the horrendous village of the barbarians and the city of my birth, among the clusters of grapes. After wandering through the desert and succumbing to harsh conditions, Rufus finds himself tied up in a recess on the side of a mountain.

He told me that the country of his birth was a mountain that lay beyond the Ganges; it was rumored on that mountain, he told me, that if one traveled westward, to the end of the world, one would come to the river whose waters give immortality.

When one gives up individuality and relinquishes their role in life, they become a part of mankind as a species and that allows a certain immortality.

Jorge Luis Borges’ City of the Immortals (Utopias and Dystopias #5) – Alex Sager

As such, the infinite represents complete contradiction of the individual and also its validation. This site uses cookies. I descended the ladder and made te way through a chaos of squalid galleries to a vast, indistinct circular chamber. I cannot recall the stages by which I returned, nor my path through the dusty, humid crypts.

February Learn how and when to remove this template message. In this sense, Borges’ immortality has to do with a Nietzsche -inspired humanist immortality which revolves around the super-abundant development of the person as an individual.

This palace is the work of the gods, was my first thought. He embraces the imomrtals. Homer composed the Odyssey ; if we postulate an infinite period of time, with infinite circumstances and changes, the impossible thing is not to compose the Odysseyat least once. University of Texas Press.


I went back to my Jungian psychology to get through some of his immortal, because Borges delves deeply into the collective unconscious, deep into the extinction of the individual. Nearly dead hhe thirst, he wakes with his hands tied near an impure stream. From afar I made out the mountain which gives its name to the Ocean; on its slopes grows the euphorbia, an antidote to poisons, and on its peak live the Satyrs, a nation of wild and rustic men given to immorta,s.

He claims that he does not want to describe it but nonetheless adds: Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: That the bosom of those barbaric lands, where the Earth is the mother of monsters, might succor a famous city—such a thing seemed unthinkable to us all.

Rufus wanders the world, fighting at Stamford Imnortalstranscribing the voyages of Sindbad the Sailorand buying the aforementioned edition of Pope’s Iliad in Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentinian writer, a country which has a heavy Italian leaning due to immigrants. Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. Cautiously at first, with indifference as time went on, desperately toward the end, I wandered the staircases and inlaid floors of that labyrinthine palace.

Notify me of new comments via email. I know only that I was accompanied by the constant fear that when I emerged from the last labyrinth I would ommortals surrounded once again by the abominable City of the Immortals.

It was surrounded by a single building, of irregular angles and varying heights. Human beings have great difficulty conceiving of eternity.