El estudio de Jorge Luis Borges sobre Evaristo Carriego -poeta argentino que disfrutó de popularidad a principios de siglo- no es un simple ejercicio crítico-biográfico ni un conjunto de estampas costumbristas, sino que late en él el propósito de recrear el desconocido medio que rodeó la niñez aislada y protegida de su autor. Obra «menos documental que imaginativa», en ella Borges -criado «en un jardín, detrás de una verja con lanzas, y en una biblioteca de ilimitados libros ingleses»- relata la crónica de ese «Palermo del cuchillo y de la guitarra» en el cual durante años creyó que había transcurrido su infancia.
I come back to the atmosphere of Buenos Aires through a writing by Jorge Luis Borges, the most renowned Argentinian writer. I must confess that this book perplexed me by its structure and its tone, which I couldn’t completely grasp due to my level in spanish.
Following the title, the reader awaits a book on Carriego’s life or poetic style. In fact, Borges begins with the history of Palermo, a quarter of Buenos Aires where Borges grew up and where Evaristo Carriego lived to stay among the true porteños. Afterwards, Borges explains his view on some of Carriego’s works that represent the true voice of Carriego and of Argentinian popular culture. In fact, with the complementary pages and Borges’ own adds-up after the first edition, few pages are really devoted to Evaristo Carriego.
Borges chose Carriego as a support to develop his vision on Buenos Aires and Argentinian culture, based mainly on the gaucho, alone in the pampa on his horse. For Borges, Argentinian culture finds its roots in the gaucho’s proud character, ready to fight, knife in hand, to defend his easily offended honor. In that way, the chapter named “El puñal” or “the dagger” shows how Borges feels linked to that “criollo” spirit. Borges wrote a chapter named “Historia del tango” or “history of tango” in his complements to the first edition. He doesn’t link tango to a nostalgic feeling as it is known today but rather to a joyous character, nearer to that of the milonga.
Tango paid its own respect to Carriego with this work “A Evaristo Carriego” by Eduardo Rovira performed here by Osvaldo Pugliese and his orchestra.