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Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

"Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is a short story that appears in the book Labyrinths by Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges.

It is the story of a man who hears of an unknown country, Uqbar[?], which is mentioned only in a single volume of the Anglo-American Cyclopedia. Later, he discovers a complete encyclopedia about Tlön, one of the planets in the Uqbar cosmology, and together with some friends, is able to reconstruct the entire history, culture, and even languages of that world. While he does this with his colleagues as an academic pursuit, the rest of the world gradually learns about the project and begins to adopt the Tlön culture. While Earth is in the process of becoming Tlön, the founder of the encyclopedia volume begins finding evidence that Tlön really existed, though this is not resolved in the story.

Within the story, Borges explores philosophical questions, and presents an odd school of literary criticism, which assumes that two works are by the same person and, based on that, deduces things about the imagined author.

See also Borges the European.



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