The Novel or The Garden? Borges' Postmodern Dialogue with China


  • Lidan Lin


"The Garden of Forking Paths" (1941) by the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges is of a highly intelligent design, full of postmodern twists. From The Thousand and One Nights, which Boreges read as a child, and later from Chinese culture, Borges learned the concept of infinity and paradox that became some of the important seeds for his stance on global postmodernism. Such stance is illustrated by the cultural and postmodern relativism embodied in the blurred boundary between fiction and reality and between the East and the West. Complex and layered, the story's narrative cleverly plays with infinite possibilities of East-West relations of the future. The story's final refusal to closure allows the reader to engage in new dialogues between the East and the West. In doing so, the sotry invites the reader to evaluate the relevance of this kind of cultural and epistemological relativism embodied in this remarkable sotry to the global world we all now live in.