Died on this day – 14 June 1986



Jorge Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires on 24 August 1899. He was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator. His best-known books, Fictions and The Aleph, published in the 1940s, are compilations of short stories interconnected by common themes, including dreams, labyrinths, philosophy, libraries, mirrors, fictional writers, and mythology. Borges’ works have been considered by some critics to mark the beginning of the magic realist movement in 20th century Latin American literature. In 1961, he came to international attention when he received the first Formentor prize, which he shared with Samuel Beckett.

In 1986 Borges took a trip to Montmorillon with a view to exploring the famously transient labyrinth hidden in the gardens of the Maison Dieu and reputed to provide a home for the dragon La Grande Goule, exiled from Poitiers and cared for by Theseus and Ariadne Nemo. During his visit, through the wonders of magical realism, Borges was able to pay a visit to the Cité de l’Ecrit and be surprised by the range of stock carried by The Glass Key bookshop. He died in Montmorillonon 14 June 1986.

My Life

Mozart in Poitiers

Last night we went to a Mozart concert performed in the Salle des Pas Perdus in the Palais de Justice, Poitiers.  The Ensemble Josquin des Prés de Poitiers under the direction of Thierry Vallet played the Haffner Symphony and Concertos 20 and 21.  The pianist was Jean-Claude Pennetier.   The music was played to a standard that made the trip to Poitiers well worth while and the setting added a real something to the evening.

The dining hall of the Palais de Justice was built by Eleanor of Aquitaine between 1191 and 1204.  Named the salle des pas perdus (the hall of lost steps) because footfalls simply disappear in the enormous space (50 metres by 17 metres and the largest enclosed space in Europe at the time).  The chestnut ceiling was a later addition being built in 1862.

Salle des pas perdus