Borges, Detective Fiction and Hell’s Seventh Circle

Fast

For Carolina Miranda

Séptimo Círculo, The celebrated Argentinian crime fiction series, whose name is in reference to Dante (in the Divine comedy, violent criminals were thrown in hell’s seventh circle), was created in 1945 by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares. Its publisher was Emecé, in Buenos Aires. Over the course of four decades a total of 366 novels were published. British authors were the  majority, as they represented what Borges and Bioy Casares wanted to promote in the genre. Mysteries, puzzles, tales of logic and clues hidden behind surfaces of respectability were exactly what they thought would help to promote the genre itself, at a time when it was still not considered legitimate literature. Despite this symbolic Anglophilia, and Borges’s active dislike for hardboiled realism, some American classics made it into the selection, including noir authors, from Cain and Chandler, to William Irish. Almost entirely missing, by contrast, were French authorsEven though French Crime Fiction was translated in other, more popular Argentinian series (such as Tor’s), they were only represented here by writer Pierre Véry, and… Belgian dramatist Fernand Crommelynck. Neither Leblanc, nor Leroux, nor Simenon were included in this intriguing case of a biased (and yet admirable), status-conscious presentation of the crime genre.

nicholas-blake

Demdo circu

(Click to enlarge)

BOuenos Aires

Chase

emece

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