Borges, Jorge Luis

BORN 24 Aug 1899, Buenos Aires - DIED 14 Jun 1986, Genčve
BIRTH NAME Borges Acevedo, Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis
CAUSE OF DEATH liver cancer
GRAVE LOCATION Genčve, Genčve: Cimetičre de Plainpalais, Rue des Rois (G-735)

Jorge Luis Borges was the son of a half British lawyer who failed to become a writer. He rew up speaking English as well as Spanish. He grew up near Palermo until his father's failing eyesight forced him to give up his career and the family moved to Geneva. He studied in Geneva and after World War I the family lived in Switzerland and Spain. In Spain he became a member of the Ultraist literary movement.

In 1921 the family returned to Argentina and he started publishing his poems and essays. He wrote for Sur, a journal founded by Victoria Ocampo. He met Adolfo Bioy Cesares and they collaborated on a number of stories. He held several appointments in Buenos Aires and in 1937 he was first assistant at the Municipal Library. When Perón came to power in 1946 he was forced to give up his job because he had signed democratic petitions.

Shortly after his father died in 1938 he was wounded in an accident. After he recovered he started writing the stories that made him famous. He started a career as a public lecturer and became president of the Argentine Society of Writers (1950-1953). In 1955 the new government made him director of the National Library and he also held a post as professor of literature at the University. After his eyesight started to fail his mother he had trouble writing, but his mother helped him and became the personal secretary of the blind writer. In 1967 he married Elsa Astete Millán, possibly because his mother (who was ninety) wanted someone to look after him. After three years the marriage ended in a divorce and he returned to his mother.

When Perón returned to power in 1973 he resigned as director of the National Library. His mother died in 1975 when she was 99 years old and from then on housekeeper Fanny took care of him. He started to travel to many countries in the company of his personal assistant María Kodama. During the last years of live he lived in Geneva, where he felt 'mysteriously happy'. A few months before he died in Geneva in 1986 he was married to María in Paraguay. As his sole heir she inherited the copyrights to his works.


The grave of Jorge Luis Borges at the Cimetičre de Plainpalais, Genčve.
Picture by Androom (06 Dec 2007)



Borghese, Camillo, 6th Prince of Sulmona

Published: 16 Dec 2007
Last update: 16 May 2020