Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title



Global Languages


College of Humanities and Fine Arts


The present article explores the connections between Antonio Muñoz Molina's Beltenebros (1989) and Jorge Luis Borges' work. Specifically, I explore how the reappearance of the past is depicted in Muñoz Molina's novel as compared to Borges' short stories "La muerte y la brújula" and "El sur", and how these connections are embedded in wider critical discourse about memory, history and their postmodernist reinterpretations. While other critics have pointed to the connection between these two authors, my comparative analysis reveals the depth of the so-called Borges effect. Firstly, the doubling of characters and the interconnections among them suggest the necessity of having duplicate or triplicate identities in order to deal with the past. Secondly, labyrinthine and oneiric paths confound characters—and readers—leading them into uncanny places where heroes, cowards, and traitors commingle. Lastly, by exploring the recurrence of simulacrum, anachronism, and symmetry in these works, we see that both authors suggest that fiction is an intrinsic and complementary part of reality. However, while most of the protagonists of these works appear to be trapped in the past, in Beltenebros the ending points to the realization that in order to access the future it is necessary to find a way through the past.


This is an accepted article published by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Romance Studies in Hispanófila, available at



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