Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Dr. Jeff Keuss

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. April Middeljans

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. William Rowlandson

Abstract

In Gödel, Escher, and Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Douglas Hofstadter studies how three great minds created their own version of what he calls the “Strange Loop.” The Strange Loop is a paradoxical construction, a shift from one level of abstraction to another that somehow gives rise to a closed, eternal cycle. In other words, despite one’s sense of departing ever further from one’s origin, one winds up, to one’s shock, exactly where one had started out. I argue that this paradoxical model is prevalent in Jorge Luis Borges’s short stories and that by applying Hofstadter’s model to Borges’s prose, we are able to better explore Borges’s belief in literature’s unique power to create spatiotemporal paradoxes. I argue that in “The Garden of Forking Paths,” Borges was fascinated by the idea that by manipulating the objective nature of book, one could generate new possibilities of time and space. I analyze how Borges creates Strange Loops in impossible linkages between distinct narrative frames in both “The Theme of the Traitor and the Hero” and “The Gospel According to Mark.” Lastly, I demonstrate how Borges composes an architectural Strange Loop in “The Immortal.”

Comments

A project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the University Scholars Program.

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