Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2024


Because Jorge Luis Borges is one of the most important writers in the history of Spanish language literature, his stories, poems, and essays have been translated into English by numerous translators. However, only one translator, Norman Thomas di Giovanni, worked side by side with Borges for years in Buenos Aires to craft translations with the author’s active collaboration. This makes the di Giovanni translations unique. These translations, which were jointly copyrighted in both men’s names under the Copyright Act of 1909, are considered by some to be the author’s most authentic voice in English. Nevertheless, because Borges split the royalties generated by these translations fifty-fifty with di Giovanni, the financial arrangement drew the ire of Borges’s estate and publisher. After Borges died, his estate and publisher commissioned new translations of all his works, forced the di Giovanni translations out of print, and quashed every effort by di Giovanni to republish or reprint his translations. The di Giovanni translations are now disappearing—they are out of print and have become difficult to find and, in some cases, exorbitantly expensive. This suppression of Borges’s voice in English is offensive from an artistic and ethical standpoint. This Article argues it was also illegal. Under the Copyright Act of 1909, this Article concludes that the suppression of di Giovanni’s translations violated his rights as a joint author.