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Imaginative Geography: Dialectical Orientalism in Borges


The following essay investigates Borges’ cultural-ideological stance as an Argentinean writer opposed to national literature and ideological rhetoric. This position will be elucidated via a comparison with Edward Said’s Orientialism which, following Foucault, argues that literature is subservient to the ideological paradigms of the period. The discussion demonstrates how Borges presents a dialectical orientalism in his work: a philosophical-universal position deviating from the delimited framework of national ideology, hereby establishing an uni-ideological philosophical and transcultural view of the interrelationship between “East” and “West.” In line with Said, the essay examines the literary representation of Islam in Western literature, focusing on the image of Mahomet in Dante's Divine Comedy.

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