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The Circular Ruins

the circular ruins, the circular ruins full text
"The Circular Ruins" Spanish: "Las ruinas circulares" is a short story by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges First published in the literary journal Sur in December 1940, it was included in the 1941 collection The Garden of Forking Paths Spanish: El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan and the 1944 collection Ficciones It was first published in English in View Series V, No 6 1946, translated by Paul Bowles


  • 1 Epigraph
  • 2 Themes
  • 3 References
  • 4 Bibliography


The story's epigraph is taken from Chapter 4 of Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll: "And if he left off dreaming about you" It comes from the passage in which Tweedledee points out the sleeping Red King to Alice, and claims she is simply a character in his dream1


The short story deals with themes that recur in Borges's work: idealism, the manifestation of thoughts in the "real world", meaningful dreams, and immortality The manifestation of thoughts as objects in the real world was a theme in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", but here Borges takes it to another level: the manifestation of human beings rather than simple objects

The story also seems to symbolize writers as creators who engender one another and whose existence and originality would be impossible without their predecessors, a theme he wrote about in other works such as "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote", another short story from the Ficciones collection

Its treatment of dreaming reality and free will is similar to La vida es sueño, a Spanish play published in 1635 by Pedro Calderón de la Barca


  1. ^ Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass 38


  • Borges, Jorge Luis 1964 "The Circular Ruins" Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings New Directions pp 45–50 
  • Carroll, Lewis 2010 Through the Looking-Glass New York: Cosimo 
  • Dapía, Silvia G "Jeff's Borges web site: The Circular Ruins archived version" Archived from the original on September 26, 2013 Retrieved 2006-10-28 

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