Norah Borges

"A Smaller, More Perfect World"

Author(s) Eamon McCarthy

Language: English

Genre(s): Art and Music

Series: Studies in Visual Culture

  • September 2020 · 288 pages ·216x138mm

  • · Hardback - 9781786836304
  • · eBook - pdf - 9781786836311
  • · eBook - epub - 9781786836328

About The Book

Norah Borges (1901–98) was the sister of the celebrated Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. She first began producing art in Switzerland, where her family was trapped during the First World War, and travelled to Spain before returning to her native Argentina with her new styles of painting. In the 1920s, her work was published on the covers of important cultural magazines, but she is now largely forgotten. In her works, Borges created a world full of almost angelic figures – describing it as a smaller, more perfect world – mostly a serene space dominated by women. This book explores how Borges created that space and developed her own unique style of painting, studying the connections she made with the leading artists and writers of her time.


‘The author illuminates Norah Borges’s work with great sympathy and insight into her aims and achievements. Moving through all of the contexts in which she worked, this first book in English is a milestone, and should be read by anyone interested in women and the avant-garde.’
-Dr Roberta Quance, author of In the Light of Contradiction: Desire in the Poetry of Federico García Lorca

‘McCarthy’s comprehensive study of Norah Borges’s work and its reception offers a valuable contribution to our understanding not only of this fine artist’s personal output, but also of the historical and cultural context in which her ideas and paintings were formed. The seemingly contradictory “smaller, more perfect world” of the title, an inspired reference to its female boundaries, encapsulates the gendered subject matter of the study and of its approach – the importance of the marginal. The other Borges, an outspoken admirer of Norah’s work, would have approved.’
-Professor Evelyn Fishburn, University College London

‘Reading this book is like walking through an exhibition of Argentine and Spanish art during the first half of the twentieth century – but it seems different from the story you thought you knew, since you came in through the back door before the crowds arrived, and you now see the connections between Jorge Luis Borges and Guillermo de Torre, between the avant-garde magazines and García Lorca’s La Barraca, and you realise that the glue that held it all together was Norah Borges. A fascinating tour de force!’
-Professor Stephen M. Hart, University College London


List of illustrations
Chapter 1 – A Style of One’s Own
Chapter 2 – Finding an appropriate (Argentine) style
Chapter 3 – Consolidating styles between Argentina and Spain
Chapter 4 – Creating a perfect world

About the Author(s)

Author(s): Eamon McCarthy

Eamon McCarthy is Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Glasgow.

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