Archivo para literatura

Poema ultraísta de Jorge Luis Borges: “SIESTA”

Posted in Jorge Luis Borges con y sin máscaras with tags , , , on 1 febrero, 2012 by Claudia Gilman


Muchedumbres de sol
    bloquean la casa
y el tiempo acobardado se remansa
detrás de las persianas
    verdes como cañaverales
Margenándolo todo
      hallamos nuestro cuerpo
   como una misma acotación inútil
hasta que las campanas rebosantes
            vierten la tarde
y se arrodilla el humillado cielo
y nos vestimos de previstos paisajes


Ultra, revista internacional de vanguardia, Año II, Número 24 Madrid, 15 de marzo 1922

El impostor inverosímil Tom Castro

Posted in Jorge Luis Borges con y sin máscaras with tags , , , , on 20 enero, 2012 by Claudia Gilman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Roger Tichborne (left) and Arthur Orton (right)

The affair of the Tichborne claimant was the celebrated 19th-century legal case in the United Kingdom of Arthur Orton (1834–1898), an imposter who claimed to be Sir Roger Tichborne (1829–1854), the missing heir to the Tichborne Baronetcy.

Sketch of Thomas Castro’s (Arthur Orton) butcher shop in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, which may have been sketched before or during the Tichborne Case.
Roger Charles Tichborne was born on 5 January 1829 in Paris into a prominent Catholic Hampshire family. King James I of England had made his ancestor Sir Benjamin Tichborne sheriff of Southampton, a baronet in 1621. His father was James Francis Tichborne, younger brother of the head of the family, and his mother was Henriette Félicité, an illegitimate daughter of Henry Seymour who had been born and raised in France. James Tichborne’s eldest brother, Henry Joseph Tichborne, the 8th Baronet, died in 1845 leaving only daughters so the title passed to the next brother, Edward. Earlier Edward had been left a large fortune by a distant relation on the condition that he change his family name to ‘Doughty’ and with the expectation that he would have a son to carry on the Doughty name. Edward’s only son died young but he did have one daughter, Katherine, first cousin to Roger.Through the influence of his mother, who did not appreciate England very much, Roger was raised in France until the age of 16 and was fluent in French. His father, James Tichborne, had to claim that the boy had to attend a funeral in England before his mother would let him leave. In 1849 he went to Stonyhurst College and later that year joined the 6th Dragoon Guards in Dublin. Apparently his French accent caused ridicule, and he sold his commission in 1852. He also courted his cousin, Katherine Doughty, though her family disapproved both for his life style and because as Catholics they would need special permission from the Church to marry. Next year he left for South America. From Valparaíso, Chile he crossed the Andes and arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1854. In 1853, Edward Doughty died and the title and fortune passed to Roger’s father who changed his name to James Francis Doughty Tichborne.On 20 April 1854, Roger sailed from Rio Janeiro aboard the ship Bella bound for New York. He was put aboard her by a gentleman who would later be called as a witness by the government. A letter written by Roger just before his embarkation showed his intention at the time to extend his stay abroad for another two or three years. Some four or five days after the Bella sailed, her longboat was found adrift, and she was never heard of again.[1] Roger was pronounced dead the next year, 1855. Roger’s father died in 1862 and the title and property passed to Roger’s younger brother, Sir Alfred Joseph Doughty Tichborne. Alfred died in 1866 and his only son, Henry Alfred Joseph Doughty Tichborne, inherited title and property upon birth a few months later.

Claimant emerges

Arthur Orton c. 1872

On learning the news of her eldest son’s death, Sir Roger’s mother refused to admit that he was dead. She sent inquiries all over the world, and in November 1865, she received a letter from an Australian lawyer, William Gibbes, who said that a man supposedly fitting the description of her son had approached him, and was living as a butcher in the New South Wales rural town of Wagga Wagga.

The supposed Sir Roger was actually London-born Arthur Orton, who at the time used the name Tom Castro. Aside from some facial resemblance to Tichborne, he did not fit the description at all. Instead of sharp features and black hair, he had a rounded visage and light brown hair. He was also overweight and did not speak a word of French. Moreover, his first letter from Australia referred to facts Lady Tichborne did not recognise. Lady Tichborne was desperate enough, however, to accept him as her son and sent him money to come to her.

Orton was reluctant to go at first, presumably because he feared exposure, but his associates—one of whom was an old friend of Roger’s father—made him change his mind. Andrew Bogle, a former servant of Roger’s uncle Sir Edward, accompanied him on his trip to Britain. He arrived in London on Christmas Day 1866 and visited the Tichborne estates. There he met the Tichborne family solicitor Edward Hopkins and Francis J. Baigent who became his supporters. When in January he travelled to the Paris hotel where Lady Tichborne was living, the desperate lady “recognised” him instantly as her son. She even handed him Roger’s letters from South America. The fact that Orton did not understand French did not bother her, and she gave him an allowance of £1,000 a year. Orton researched Sir Roger’s life to reinforce his imposture.

After Lady Tichborne’s acceptance, various other acquaintances of Sir Roger claimed to recognise him as well. They included other officers of the 6th Dragoons, several county families and sundry Hampshire villagers. He even hired a group of manservants that had served in the 6th Dragoons.

Resistance begins

Orton caricatured in Vanity Fair by ‘Ape‘ in 1871

Other members of the Tichborne family were not so gullible and promptly declared him an impostor. Their investigators found out that this Tom Castro was a butcher’s son from Wapping and had jumped ship in Valparaíso, Chile, where he had taken the name Castro from a friendly family. Orton had even inquired about his family members in Wapping when he had come back from Australia. They also found many other discrepancies when Orton tried to fit his own South American experiences to those of Sir Roger.

When Lady Tichborne died in March 1868, Orton lost his most prominent supporter. He would have probably stopped the charade had he not owed a significant amount of money to his creditors. (He sold “Tichborne Bonds” to pay the legal costs when he tried to claim his inheritance from the Tichborne family.) The rightful heir at the time, Sir Henry Alfred Joseph Doughty Tichborne, was only two years old.


The Illustrated London News, January 24, 1874. Henry Hawkins addressing the Jury

The trial to establish his inheritance began on 11 May 1871 in the Court of Common Pleas before Sir Alexander Cockburn, 12th Baronet CJ, and lasted 102 days. Orton weathered the attacks against the discrepancies in his story and his outright ignorance of many key facts Roger would have known, including how to speak French as the heir had spent most of his youth in France.[2] Over 100 people vouched for his identity as Roger—except Orton’s brother who claimed otherwise. Eventually Sir John Coleridge (whose junior was Charles Bowen) revealed the whole case in a cross-examination that lasted 22 days, and the evidence of the Tichborne family eventually convinced the jury. The case was closed on 5 March 1872, when Orton’s counsel William Ballantine gave up after witnesses described tattoos which Roger had had but Orton did not, and Orton lost his upper-class supporters.

Charles Chabot gave evidence as an expert witness on questioned document examination.[3]

Orton was promptly arrested and charged with perjury. His criminal trial began in 1873 and lasted 188 days with the judge, again Sir Alexander Cockburn, taking 18 days to sum up.[4] The jury was eventually convinced—based on, for example, testimony by Orton’s former girlfriend—that this claimant was false. Orton’s defence was led by Edward Kenealy, who would later be disbarred for his aggressive behaviour during the case. Orton was convicted on two counts of perjury on 28 February 1874, and was sentenced to 14 years’ hard labour. The legal costs amounted to £200,000 (at least £10 million pounds sterling or $12 million US dollars adjusted currency).


The Beggar’s Petition

Many people who had supported the claimant’s efforts refused to believe the truth and claimed he was unjustly persecuted. Rumours included conspiracy theories about Jesuits.[5] Kenealy was elected to Parliament, but failed to convince other members to take the Tichborne case to a Royal Commission in April 1875. As a result, Orton’s supporters started a small-scale riot in London.

Orton served ten years in prison and was released in 1884, by which time the public had forgotten him. He confessed in 1895 then later retracted but aroused little interest. He died in poverty on 2 April 1898 and was buried in Paddington Cemetery in London leaving behind a widow. His coffin has a plate with the name Sir Roger Charles Doughty Tichborne.[6]

In 1913 a woman claiming to be Theresa Mary Agnes Doughty Tichborne daughter of Sir Roger Doughty Tichborne though she was also known as Theresa Alexander was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to six months for sending threatening letters to various members of the Tichborne family claiming they were doing her out of her rightful inheritance. She was apparently a daughter of Arthur Orton.[7] In 1923 she was convicted for further threats and sentenced to a year in prison.[8]

Cultural references

Commemorative plate, held in the National Museum of Australia, Eternity gallery. The text around the rim reads: “Would you be surprised to find that this is Tichborne”.

  • The Australian novelist Marcus Clarke (1846–1881) used elements of the Tichborne Case in his novel For the Term of His Natural Life (1874). In the novel the transported convict, John Rex, travels back to England and assumes the identity of Richard Devine. Clarke’s interest in the Tichbornes also led to a lesser known novel Chidiock Tichborne(1874).[citation needed]
  • Jevons‘s Logic, 1876, a small textbook by the economist who invented marginal utility theory, mentions this case to illustrate proof by weight of evidence. The claimant, for example, was unable to distinguish Greek text from Latin.[citation needed]
  • Music hall performer Harry Relph, known on the stage as “Little Tich”, took his stage name from the Tichborne claimant.[10]
  • By 1895 the case had popularised the use of the phrase “you will not be surprised to hear”.[11]
  • Mark Twain‘s 1897 book Following the Equator contains a chapter about the Tichborne Claimant as part of the history of Wagga Wagga.[citation needed]
  • A 1924 play by Margaret Watts (or MF Watts, as she was billed) ran for a short period at the Queen’s Theatre, London starting on 11 September and closing on 18 October and dealt with the history of the case. Directed by Basil Dean, the writer of the play is today better remembered as the sister of crime writer Agatha Christie.[12]
  • The Crooked Hinge (1938) by detective novelist John Dickson Carr combines a seemingly impossible throat-slashing with elements of witchcraft, an automaton modelled on Maelzel‘s Chess Player, and the story of the Tichborne Claimant.
  • Mary Elizabeth Braddon‘s novel Aurora Floyd contains a quote written in Orton’s notebook and used against him during his trial. It reads: “I should think fellows with plenty of money and no brains must have been created for the good of fellows with plenty of brains and no money.”
  • In 1933 Jorge Luis Borges published a short story, “El impostor inverosímil Tom Castro” (“Tom Castro, the Implausible Impostor“). It is an accurate account of the Tichborne case except for the enhanced role of Ben Bogle, although it has often been taken for a work of fiction.[citation needed]
  • Michael Innes‘ detective novel A Change of Heir (1966) has a plot very much along Tichborne Claimant lines, though its hero was provided with interminable diaries to make his recollections convincing.([citation needed]
  • The Link: A Victorian Mystery (1969) is a fictionalization of the Tichborne case by British novelist Robin Maugham.[citation needed]
  • Patrick White‘s 1979 novel The Twyborn Affair, homophone of “The Tichborne Affair”[13] is suffused with ambiguous re-births.[14]
  • The 1995 album The Green Bicycle Case, by the Australian band the Lucksmiths, contains a track titled “The Tichborne Claimant” relating to this case.[citation needed]
  • The 1998 movie The Tichborne Claimant is loosely based on the facts of this case; the dates were changed and Andrew Bogle is presented as the instigator of the fraud (in fact he was deemed by Lord Chief Justice Cockburn after the trial to have been honest but mistaken.[citation needed]
  • The Simpsons episode “The Principal and the Pauper” is based on the Tichborne Case. On the Simpsons Season 9 commentary, the writer vehemently confirms that the story is based on the true story of the Tichborne Heir, not Martin Guerre as many internet fans loudly proclaimed.[15]
  • The 2011 novel The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man (Pyr) by Mark Hodder sets the Tichborne Case as the centerpiece, recasting facts of the case within a speculative, fictional narrative.[16]


  1. ^ Morse, John Torrey (1874). Famous Trials: The Tichborne Claimant, Troppmann, Prince Pierre Bonaparte, Mrs. Wharton, the Meteor, Mrs Fair. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. p. 14.
  2. ^ University of Texas, Tarlton Law Library – notes on the Tichborne Case
  3. ^ Henderson, T. F. (2004) “Chabot, Charles (bap. 1815, d. 1882)“, rev. John D. Haigh, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press , <accessed 27 July 2007> (subscription required)
  4. ^ [Anon.] (1911) “Sir Alexander Cockburn“, Encyclopaedia Britannica
  5. ^ page 352 of The Tichborne Case
  6. ^ from the London Daily Mail (1898-04-18). “Dead, but still the claimant: Arthur Orton to be buried as Sir Roger Tichborne”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
  7. ^ “The Tichborne Case: The defendant sentenced”. The Times (London): p. 2. 1913-07-13.
  8. ^ “Tichborne Case Sentence”. The Times (London): p. 9. 1923-10-26.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Ernest Henry, Short (1970). Ring Up the Curtain: Being a Pageant of English Entertainment covering Half a Century. Ayer Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 0836952995.
  11. ^ From “The Dress for Bicycling” by Dora de Blaquiere, volume 17, 5 October 1895, p14; reprinted on p178 of Selections from The girl’s own paper, 1880-1907 By Terri Doughty (2004)
  12. ^ Morgan, Janet. Agatha Christie, A Biography. (Pages 113-115) Collins, 1984 ISBN 0-00-216330-6
  13. ^ Mackenzie, Manfred. “” The Mighty Pipe Smoking Me “: Imposture in Such is Life”. Journal of the South Pacific Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  14. ^ “Roger, is that you?”. English: Sydney Morning Herald. 3 August 2002. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
  15. ^ Keeler, Ken. (2006). Commentary for “The Principal and the Pauper”, in The Simpsons: The Complete Ninth Season [DVD]. 20th Century Fox, 4:25–5:00.
  16. ^ Hodder, Mark. The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man. Pyr. Retrieved March 2011.


  • Annear, R. (2002). The Man Who Lost Himself: The Unbelievable Story of the Tichborne Claimant. Melbourne, Australia: Text Publishing. ISBN 1-877008-17-6.
  • Michael Diamond (2003). Victorian Sensation. Anthem Press. pp. 57–63. ISBN 1-84331-150-X.
  • Rohan McWilliam: The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation, Hambledon Continuum, London 2007 ISBN 1-85285478-2
  • Twain, Mark (1897). “Chapter XV”. Following the Equator. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
  • Woodruff, Douglas. The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Mystery, Farrar, Straus (1957)

Un poema ultraísta de Jorge Luis Borges: “Prismas”

Posted in Jorge Luis Borges con y sin máscaras with tags , , on 20 diciembre, 2011 by Claudia Gilman

              P R I S M A S


Amanecen temblando las guitarras

mi alma                    pájaro oscuro ante su cielo

Ya se murió la lámpara en la urna

más todavía

clama el silencio de las manos

como una herida abierta

Por la noche blindada

vamos abriendo como ramas las calles

En los ciegos aljibes

se habían colmado de suicidio las manos

Las esquilas recogen la tristeza

dispersa de las tardes        La luna nueva

es una vocecita allá en el cielo

Ultra, Año I, Madrid, 1 de marzo de 1921, Número 4, página 2

Un poema ultraísta de Jorge Luis Borges: “Gesta maximalista”

Posted in Jorge Luis Borges con y sin máscaras with tags , , , , , , on 19 diciembre, 2011 by Claudia Gilman


Desde los hombros curvos

                se arrojaron los rifles como viaductos

Las barricadas que cicatrizan las plazas

                vibran nervios desnudos

El cielo se ha crinado de gritos y disparos

Solsticios interiores han quemado los cráneos

Uncida por el largo aterrizaje

      la catedral avión de multitudes quiere romper

                                                              (las amarras

y el ejército fresca arboladura

            de surtidores—bayonetas pasa

el candelabro de los mil y un falos

Pájaro rojo vuela un estandarte

              sobre la hirsuta muchedumbre extática

  Ultra, Año I, Número 3, Madrid, 20 de febrero de 1921, página 3

Un poema ultraísta de Jorge Luis Borges: “Aldea”

Posted in Jorge Luis Borges con y sin máscaras with tags , , , on 19 diciembre, 2011 by Claudia Gilman


    Las esquillas reúnen la tristeza dispersa de los

crepúsculos. El cielo está vacío.

    Lápida de un silencio serio sobre el nihilismo

ecuánime de la jornada.

   Las fluviales lenguas frescas del viento lamen

mis manos y mejillas.

     En la barbería el reloj –sexagenario sistema-

tico—sigue jugando al solitario con los minutos.

     Ante la hipnosis rectilínea del caserío y curvilí-

nea del camino y los montes, Sureda y yo somos

las dos pirámides del pueblo. Culminantes sobre

la democracia geométrica y encarrilada.

     Apoyadas en la baranda nuestras manos tocan el

piano de colores del paisaje.

     En la caja del piano está enterrado Wagner. A

veces se despierta y canta en la tumba. En la caja

del craneo saltan entonces crímenes crucifixiones

golpes de estado pronunciamientos piras fornicios

y pluralizados suicidios.

     Hasta que nos estruja un flaco silencio sin entor-

chados ni estandartes.

    Los acordes histrionizan las acumuladas angus-

tias .

     El aqueducto tiende su espinazo polvoriento de


   El trasnochador dejó dos palanganas llenas de


    Los badajos ultiman otra jornada.

    Los párpados picotean la madeja de viento y


    El Sol que talaron los leñadores rueda a ras de

los campos.

   Las noches náufragas han tapado el aljibe.

     Aguijoneando nuestro insomnio vuelan aureo-

las de nerviosos insectos.

     Los árboles donde se diluye la fiebre del farol

son árboles de teatro.

     Durante la misa un perro menea la cola.

     Incensario cuyo optimismo biológico asciende

–único—a esa altitud azul donde reposa Dios y

cantan los pajaritos.

Ultra, Año I, Madrid 10 de febrero de 1921, Número 2, p. 4

Un poema ultraísta de Jorge Luis Borges. “Mañana”

Posted in Jorge Luis Borges con y sin máscaras with tags , , , on 19 diciembre, 2011 by Claudia Gilman


A Antonio M Cubero

Las banderas cantaron sus colores

y el viento es una vara de bambú entre las manos

El mundo crece como un árbol claro

            Ebrio como una hélice

el sol toca la diana sobre las azoteas

el sol con sus espuelas desgarra los espejos

como un naipe mi sombra

ha caído de bruces sobre la carretera

Arriba                     el cielo vuela

 y lo surcan los pájaros como noches errantes

La mañana viene a posarse fresca en mi espalda

En la revista Ultra, Madrid, Año I Nº I, 27 de enero de 1921, p. 3

La sottise, l’erreur, le péché, la lésine,

Posted in Jorge Luis Borges con y sin máscaras with tags , , , , , , , on 3 octubre, 2011 by Claudia Gilman


Bouvard y Pécuchet aprendían a fracasar en casi todas las disciplinas y saberes de su tiempo gracias al conocimiento de los libros que los resumían. Requisitoria contra la estupidez humana, las enciclopedias y las buenas intenciones, Flaubert no insinúa la posibilidad de que sus personajes hayan leído los libros incorrectos. Esos manuales y tratados son la suma de un saber que testimonia el triunfo de científicos y emprendedores, que los han hecho posibles y asegura el de quienes los sucederán, que habrán encontrado en esos libros el conocimiento necesario para aplicarlo o refutarlo. Bouvard y Pécuchet son contemporáneos de una cultura de lo impreso mediante la cual se establecen los estados de las cuestiones sobre los saberes y oficios más diversos. Destinados a durar, como habían durado en su momento las teorías científicas de Aristóteles, esas bibliotecas  que Flaubert les hace leer para que no entiendan, son el ejemplo de lo que hoy se denominaría el “estado de la cuestión.”

Reediciones y traducciones son la medida de esa pertinencia y garantía de su no arbitrariedad. A su manera, obran como la selección natural postulada por Darwin. Presuponen una biblioteca no infinita y un bibliotecario capaz de abarcarla tanto física como intelectivamente. La lista de los libros “equivocados” y las teorías “derrotadas” se recorta nítidamente de la que compone, como lo llamaría Thomas Khun, un “paradigma” científico. Contemporánea de Bouvard y Pécuchet es la difusión de las premisas del silogismo para un público culto de lengua castellana de la que se un divulgador montevideano a mediados de siglo XIX, contemporáneo de Flaubert.

Emma Bovary convierte en veneno la anestesia que proporciona la lectura. Su idealismo es de una naturaleza tan radical que desprecia el idealismo “burgués” al que se acusará de usar la cultura como consuelo para soportar y admitir lo existente,  como hará  Marcuse en su requisitoria contra la totalidad de la cultura, seguramente a causa de la guerra y no en la década del 30, que es un señalamiento que no representa lo que debe representar.

Bouvard y Pécuchet revisan TODOS los libros que traen indicaciones sobre hacer. Emma Bovary se equivoca al persistir en un único género que le inocula más insatisfacción y descontento porque cataloga sentimientos deseables pero improbables.  Deseables por improbables y viceversa: cualquier otredad puede ser más tolerable que la banalidad de una vida y, a veces, los pocos que no tienen tiempo de pensar tanto, tal vez dedican un segundo a desear una vida banal.

Marcel Proust destruirá sistemáticamente las ilusiones de Emma cuando revele los caminos del tiempo por el que una lejana y perfecta duquesa de Guermantes pueda reencarnar en una plebeya cursi como Madame de Verdurin. Haciendo de necesidad virtud, Emerson funda los comienzos de una literatura nacional en las ventajas de carecer de tradiciones de obligado respeto. La poesía de Walt Whitman se sirve de esa libertad. La literatura de Poe, que viene del monárquico Sur, no ignora tradiciones aunque carece de complejo ante todas aquellas de las que dispone. Se da el lujo de escribir una filosofía de la composición. Moby Dick, antes de ser la gran novela del gran autor Herman Melville, que había tenido su pequeño minuto casi desaparece de la consideración del público: la novela figuraba en  la sección sobre cetáceos de una biblioteca. Emily Dickinson ni siquiera se esforzó por ser autora édita.  Jorge Luis Borges fue muy pródigo recomendando a los jóvenes seguir su ejemplo y  abstenerse de publicar.

Con innecesaria opinión, T. S. Eliot, capta los beneficios de no estar en las redes de los cogollitos: “Hawthorne, Poe and Whitman are all pathetic creatures; they are none of them so great as they might have been. But the lack of intelligent literary society is not responsible for their shortcomings; it is much more certainly responsible for some of their merits. The originality, if not the full mental capability, of these men was brought out, forced out, by the starved environment. The originality gives them a distinction which some heavier-weight authors do not obtain.”

La inexistencia de cogollitos, capillas literarias, “campos intelectuales” o cosas parecidas, esos autores desconocieron la gloria y, en buena parte, la envidia y los juicios lapidarios de sus contemporáneos. William Faulkner, como casi todos los escritores estadounidenses que vivían de la venta de sus cuentos en revistas, se encontró inverosímilmente famoso en Francia. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, autora de cientos de relatos, poemas y lúcida cuestionadora del androcentrismo fundado en argumentaciones racionales y apoyos de teorías científicas, fue totalmente desconocida durante cien años, razón por la cual su obra completa y “visible” representa un porcentaje muy bajo de lo que de ella se ha perdido, por ahora.

Todos pertenecen al brevísimo período de la historia en que alguien pudo pensar que el mundo estaba  hecho para culminar en un libro, como postularía Mallarmé, cuando los libros existentes eran relativamente amables en cantidad con la conciencia de finitud de la vida humana. Las mujeres, los niños y los obreros que se alfabetizaron en el siglo XIX murieron sin saber ni imaginar que los libros competirían apenas unos años más tarde, con medios como el cine y la radio. Es difícil imaginar algunos estados irrevocables del silencio aunque recordar que esos estados existieron y fueron la norma y no la excepción es obligatorio para este cada vez más perezoso presente que tiende a dar el pasado por sentado cuanto más se aleja de él. Acá se cita lo último pero nunca se ha leído lo primero. D’Alembert et Cia no pueden haber pensado que pasarían a la historia como los enciclopedistas. Jesús murió ignorando que habría tras él algo llamado católico, apostólico y romano.