The Internet is a vast, sprawling library of interconnected facts and fictions, and perhaps the World Wide Web owes something to author Jorge Luis Borges. The pioneer of magic realism and hypertext fiction is celebrated by Google today.
The Google logo on the search giant's home page shows a man, perhaps Borges himself, looking down on a world of interconnected yet subtly different buildings and paths: the Internet as Borges' own Garden of Forking Paths, perhaps.
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo was born on 24 August 1899 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Borges was one of many Latin America writers influenced by surrealism and other artistic movements during their travels in Europe. He came to international attention with his works of science fiction and magic realism, a genre in which stories are set in the real world but contain magical elements.
He pioneered literary magic realism with Historia universal de la infamia (A Universal History of Infamy), a collection of short stories published in 1935. Each story tells the tale of a real-life criminal, such as Western antihero Billy the Kid; the notorious imposter in the Tichborne claimant case, Arthur Orton; and the bad guy in the Japanese legend of the 47 ronin, Kira Yoshinaka.
His book El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (The Garden of Forking Paths), is part novel and part labyrinth. Like the Interwebs, it can be read in many different ways.
Borges was a staunch opponent of Argentine dictator Juan Peron -- husband of Madonna -- and under the dictator's regime was 'promoted' from his post at the Miguel Cané Library to become inspector of poultry and rabbits at the Buenos Aires municipal market.
By the late 1950s, Borges had become completely blind, and relied on his mother, living with her until she died. After that he travelled until his death in June 1986.
Other authors celebrated by Google include children's favourite.