I recently stumbled upon these recordings, and wanted to share them with our readers.
Borges was a master, and easily one of the most voracious readers of the 20th century, despite the obvious impediment of his eyes. As mentioned in the intro, at the time of these lectures, he was almost completely blind, and relied on memory and the help of various persons in his life, especially his mother, until her death at age 99.
From the amazing UbuWeb sound page for Jorge Luis Borges:
“The central fact of my life has been the existence of words and the possibility of weaving those words into poetry.”
— Jorge Luis Borges, This Craft of Verse
These are the six Norton Lectures that Jorge Luis Borges delivered at Harvard University in the fall of 1967 and spring of 1968. The recordings, only lately discovered in the Harvard University Archives, uniquely capture the cadences, candor, wit, and remarkable erudition of one of the most extraordinary and enduring literary voices of our age. Through a twist of fate that the author of Labyrinths himself would have relished, the lost lectures return to us now in Borges’ own voice.
The third lecture, Telling the Tale. You can listen to all six at the UbuWeb page linked to above: