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Ficciones | Study Guide

Jorge Luis Borges

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Course Hero, "Ficciones Study Guide," November 15, 2017, accessed May 27, 2023,


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Jorge Luis Borges

Year Published



Short Stories



At a Glance

Ficciones is a classic of modern world literature. In these stories Jorge Luis Borges imagines alternate universes with elaborate, conceptual underpinnings. He makes the common-sense view of the reader's own world seem suddenly strange or fantastical. Sometimes Borges's mystics and seekers are fictional. Sometimes they are real philosophers turned into fictional characters. He uses his stories not to instruct readers in mystical truths but to invite readers to marvel at the inventiveness of the human mind, which can dream up such fictions.

Perspective and Narrator

Some stories are told by a third-person narrator, some by a first-person narrator. Several are in the guise of commentary on imaginary books and authors.

About the Title

Ficciones is a Spanish word meaning "fictions." By calling the pieces in the book "ficciones" rather than stories, Jorge Luis Borges emphasizes their particular genre status. Some of the pieces are commentaries on imaginary books. One such story, "The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim," was originally published in a book of Borges's essays, A History of Eternity. Borges later called it "a hoax and a pseudo-essay," and said his friend Bioy Casares was so taken in he attempted to order the book from London. The other stories in Ficciones, too, explore ideas as much as they relate plots.


This study guide and infographic for Jorge Luis Borges's Ficciones offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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