A Universal History of Infamy, the first of Borges's four volumes of short stories, was originally published in an Argentine newspaper of the 1930s. As well as chronicling the lives of famous or little-known villains, Borges perpetrates a literary hoax or two, a technique for which he later won acclaim. The collection also includes the popular 'Streetcorner Man', Borges's earliest short story. The volume was conceived by Borges to be no more than light entertainment. Yet after it appeared in 1935 its influence on the fiction of Latin America was so profound that its publication date became a landmark in the history of Latin American literature.
'I love his work because every one of his pieces contains a model of the universe or an attribute of the universe... because his stories often take the outer form of some genre from popular literature, a form proved by long usage, which creates almost mythical structures.'