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446. macedonio fernández

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Macedonio Fernández

Born in 1874, Macedonio Fernández led a fairly standard life where he studied & practiced law, had four children & published various poems. But in 1920 his wife passed away, he left his children in the care of his siblings & began anew. The following year, the family of Jorge Luis Borges returns to Argentina after an extended stay in Europe… Macedonio & the father of Borges had been lifelong friends & this friendship was passed on to Borges himself.

Borges & Macedonio were often on the same wavelength, chatting endlessly about reality itself. These conversations about metaphysics would emerge 20 years later in the writings of Borges in the 1940’s. Literary circles debate if Borges would have ever developed his characteristic style without the influence of Macedonio, & Borges often credited his tutor for fashioning his intellect. They likely created each other.

Macedonio continued to write until his death in 1952. Borges said a few words at Macedonio’s funeral in Recoleta Cemetery, remembering his grand sense of humor:

Las mejores posibilidades de lo argentino —la lucidez, la modestia, la cortesía, la íntima pasión, la amistad genial— se realizaron en Macedonio Fernández, acaso con mayor plenitud que en otros contemporáneos famosos. Macedonio era criollo, con naturalidad y aun con inocencia, y precisamente por serlo, pudo bromear (como Estanislao del Campo, a quien tanto quería) sobre el gaucho y decir que éste era un entretenimiento para los caballos de las estancias.

The best possibilities of that which is Argentine—lucidity, modesty, courtesy, intimate passion, wonderful friendship—existed in Macedonio Fernández, perhaps more fully than in other famous contemporaries. Macedonio was a true product of this land, natural & still innocent, & precisely for that reason, could joke (like Estanislao del Campo, who he loved so much) about the gaucho & say that they were merely entertainment for horses.

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