Extraordinary Tales of Authenticity and Pseudotranslations. Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares’s Cuentos

Main Article Content

Rebecca DeWald


In 1953, the Argentine writers Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares published the anthology Cuentos breves y extraordinarios consisting of short stories from a variety of time periods, linguistic and geographical backgrounds. Cuentos breves contains a number of texts with “false attributions”, some of which appear to have been written in Spanish, others name authors with a different mother tongue and therefore constitute pseudotranslations. The stories, in particular “Un mito de Alejandro”, exemplify the way in which the reception of a pseudotranslation changes from the time of publication to the moment the true nature of the text is discovered. In this article, I argue that the mere existence of a pseudotranslation turns every text into an unreliable construct, as it creates uncertainty over what an original is and where it ends, and thereby forges bonds and alliances with every text. I furthermore show that this discovery affects the hierarchy between the reception of an original text and of a translation more generally.

Article Details