Borges

Colección El Séptimo Círculo: The first 120 Titles

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The first 120 volumes in the  Seventh Circle (Septimo Circulo) series were selected by Borges and Bioy Casares, both practitioners and very well- informed observers of the crime genre and its developments since the 1930s. It is well known that the pair had previously co-written, under the pseudonym of Bustos Domeq the ultimate armchair detection classic, Six problems for Don Isidro Parodi, published in 1942. The Septimo Circulo series reflects their tastes (even though, unlike Borges, it favours novels over short stories) and views on crime fiction aesthetics. Given the global status and influence of Borges especially, the vision of a canon of international crime fiction which emerges from this selection is interesting. The visualisations below show which authors were published, between 1945 and 1954 in the series’s first 120 volumes, and highlight their relative importance there. Continue reading

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 authors Continue reading