Exploring Borgesian Themes and Techniques in Dean Koontz’s Ashley Bell

There is no doubt that the work of Jorge Luis Borges is one that has greatly influenced Latin American writers, especially in the development of the fantastic genre and the “Boom” literary movement. This is perhaps one of his most enduring legacies. However, Borges’ legacy is not restricted to writers creating in Spanish, or even to the narrative genre. His work is readily available in translation into English, and is widely taught at American universities, so it is not surprising that Borgesian themes and narrative techniques show themselves even in the work of authors who do not speak or write in Spanish. Such is the case of the American suspense/horror writer Dean Koontz (1945) and his novel Ashley Bell, published in 2016. In this presentation, I will focus on exploring the Borgesian themes of non-linear time, dreams, labyrinths and the Other as found in Koontz’s novel Ashley Bell. Comparisons will be made between the novel and to Borges’ writings, in particular the essay “Borges and I” and the short stories “The Library of Babel,” “The Circular Ruins,” and “Death and the Compass.”

This abstract forms part of the pre-organized panel “Infinitely Borges: Reflections on Borges and his Legacy - A panel in memory of Donald L. Shaw,” organized and chaired by Dr. Iana Konstantinova, Southern Virginia University. 

 

Track: 

  • Spanish American Studies