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Revista de Derecho (Universidad Católica Dámaso A. Larrañaga, Facultad de Derecho)

Print version ISSN 1510-3714On-line version ISSN 2393-6193


BARNECH CUERVO, María Cecilia. How do justice, history, and fiction engage in dialogue in Jorge Luis Borges' Avelino Arredondo? A contribution towards the intersection of law and literature. Rev. Derecho [online]. 2023, n.28, e3300.  Epub Dec 01, 2023. ISSN 1510-3714.

In the short story ‘Avelino Arredondo’, Borges recounts a brief tale about the assassination of a president who, it seems, has not lived up to his office. The narrative focuses particularly on the meticulous and resolute preparations of the protagonist to commit this crime. He knows what he is doing and intends to do it: 'This act of justice belongs to me. Now, let them judge me.' Those are his final words. The anecdote also possesses the characteristic (very Borgesian) element of being based on a historical event: the assassination of Idiarte Borda, the president of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, in 1897, by a young man named Avelino Arredondo. These characteristics allow for the study of the work through the potential dialogue between history, fiction (literature), and the concept of justice. To achieve this, the present work is organized into four sections. The first delves into Jorge Luis Borges' relationship with fiction and the history of 19th-century Uruguay. The second section focuses on Avelino, his personality, his context, the preparation of the assassination, and its connection to death. Subsequently, the homicide is analyzed specifically as an 'act of justice': Is the assassination of the 'traitorous' ruler justifiable? Does it, in this way, protect the common good? The final section provides some personal observations, all the while recognizing that studying Borges is always a challenge, even audacious.

Keywords : law and literature; assassination; history; justice; Argentine narrative..

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