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Ogden, T.H. (2000). Borges and the Art of Mourning. Psychoanal. Dial., 10(1):65-88.

(2000). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 10(1):65-88

Borges and the Art of Mourning

Thomas H. Ogden, M.D.

In this paper, I explore “the art of mourning” in the course of discussing two Borges prose poems, “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” (1941) and “Borges and I” (1957), both of which were written soon after Borges suffered enormous emotional losses. I suggest that successful mourning centrally involves a demand that we make on ourselves to create something—whether it be a memory, a dream, a story, a poem, a response to a poem—that begins to meet, to be equal to, the full complexity of our relationship to what has been lost and to the experience of loss itself. Paradoxically, in this process, we are enlivened by the experience of loss and death, even when what is given up or is taken from us is an aspect of ourselves.

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