Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Quest...

In my quest to find pertinent material for my tentative Borges-and-art project, I'm using the BYU online catalog..and for the first time, JSTOR! (A little tardy, I know, but better late than never). Here's the faithfully documented process of my first search.

I reviewed all of the databases the BYU catalog has for English Literature, figuring out what content they included. I couldn't decide on any to rule out except for Gender Watch, which, sadly, is probably the one I'm most interested in from a non-project standpoint. I searched all of the other databases.

I came up with 23,150 hits when I searched these databases for "Borges." That is SO much more information than I was anticipating. Borges is a big figure in Latin American literature, but he's nothing compared to many other authors--in fact, a lot of people haven't even heard of him. So I was overwhelmed with the volume of information.

To try to filter this information, I clicked on "sort by year." People have been creating artwork based on literature for a long time, but I'm not sure they have been writing about that artwork for very long, so I thought that maybe more recent hits would be more likely to be relevant. Then I sort of realized that my problem was not the currency of the issue; my search phrase had just been really, really broad. So I changed the phrase to "borges artwork."

Unsurprisingly, this greatly limited the number of results I had. Some of them actually had nothing to do with either art or Borges, so I'm not sure why they came up; I also had some strange hits, such as one that tried to explain Borges figuratively as a Conceptualist artist (Conceptualism being a visual-arts term in this context), and another hit that discussed homosexual tourists in Argentina. I found some generic articles on how putting art in the library can make reading come alive; basically, I found nothing.

So my conclusion is that in all likelihood, no one has ever done a serious study of artwork based on Borges' work. I guess that's not surprising...on to Google! I will be interested to see if perhaps Google can offer me a better starting place...

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