Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 14, 2007 - Buenos Aries

Jorge Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires during the dog days of summer (August 24, 1899) and died just before its dawn on June 14, 1986. Blind for most of his adult life, Borges was remarkable for his ability to speak extemporaneously as if reading from a prepared script. His attention to detail was scrupulous and all-encompassing, much like that of an exemplary cataloger. And Borges, in fact, did work in libraries, eventually becoming director of the National Library of Argentina. According to Wikipedia: "In 1937, friends of Borges found him work at the Miguel Cané branch of the Buenos Aires Municipal Library as a first assistant. His fellow employees forbade Borges from cataloging more than 100 books per day, a task which would take him about one hour." Despite such incredible feats of assiduity, it's hard to picture Borges carelessly making errors. The spelling of his hometown, however, does give some of us lesser mortals a bit of trouble. The Ballard list includes the following typos for Buenos Aires: Buenos Aries, Buenos Aire, Buenos Aies, and Buenos Ares.

Carol Reid

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