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University of Iowa News Release

April 10, 2006

Borges Center Moves To UI, Led By Balderston

The University of Iowa is now the clearinghouse for academic work on the author Jorge Luis Borges with the transfer of the Borges Center to the UI from the University of Aarhus in Denmark. Daniel Balderston, professor of Spanish and Portuguese and one of the world's leading Borges scholars, will direct the center.

The center was created by two Argentine scholars at the University of Aarhus 10 years ago. When they announced their retirement in 2005, they sought new leadership for the center and chose the UI because of the university's strength in writing and Balderston's reputation and contributions to the field of Borges scholarship.

To celebrate its new home, the Borges Center will host a guest speaker, Floyd Merrell of Purdue University, speaking on "Borges: Paradoxes of Thought and Other Quandaries," Monday, April 17, at 4 p.m. in room 315 Phillips Hall.

Future plans include a Borges conference in April 2007, regular seminars and a redesigned and expanded website, Balderston also will serve as editor of the journal "Variaciones Borges," which is published twice a year in English, French and Spanish.

Balderston said he is excited about the center's move and hopes it will enhance the UI's strength and reputation as a writing university.

"Borges is the most influential writer from Latin America in the 20th century and he is a writer who is important to writers around the world, including many who come to Iowa to participate in the International Writing Program," he said.

The center's new Iowa home includes a library and archive, as well as a sculpture by Isabel Barbuzza, a professor in the School of Art and Art History and a native of Mendoza, Argentina. The sculpture is made from recycled Encyclopedia Britannica volumes. Maria Celeste Martin, a UI graduate student in graphic design, used an image of a Barbuzza sculpture in designing the cover for the next issue of "Variaciones Borges," which is the first to be published from the UI. (Journal subscriptions are available through the UI Bookstore,, click on the Variaciones Borges option.)

Balderston said the center's current website is celebrated for its extraordinary range and depth, including a fully searchable database of Borges's publications, full-text sources (books and articles) about Borges, an index of materials housed at the center and links to a variety of other sites on Borges and related issues. He plans to maintain and build upon the existing resources, including soon adding an updated version of his index to references and allusions in Borges's work.

Balderston is the author of eight books, co-author of two and editor or co-editor of nine others. Currently president of the International Institute for Iberoamerican Literature, he has held nine visiting professorships at distinguished universities in Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil and Norway, as well as the United States. At the UI he served as department chair from 1999 to 2004 and is currently director of the Latin American Studies Program.

The effort to move the center to the UI was spearheaded by Balderston and Tom Lewis, professor and chair of Spanish and Portuguese, with support from

Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Raul Curto and Joe Kearney, the college's executive associate dean and associate dean for research, respectively; Meredith Hay, vice president for research.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Daniel Balderston,