Borges began publishing his poems and essays in surrealist literary journals in 1921. He did so after returning to Argentina from Switzerland and Spain.
In addition to being a writer, Borges worked as a librarian and public lecturer. In 1955 he was appointed director of the National Public Library and professor of Literature at the University of Buenos Aires.
Borges read many books from the library where his father worked. The first books that he read included The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the novels of H.G. Wells, The Thousand and One Nights, and Don Quixote.
Borges is credited with establishing the Ultraist movement in South America. The Ultraist movement group rebelled against what it considered the decadence of the established writers of the Generation. Borges later repudiated it.
Borges "themes of his literary games are derived from the wealth of philosophical and theological systems invented by men and women. In playing with them as literature he shows their fictionality as well as our own."
Borges writes "about the act of writing with Ficciones, Spanish-American imaginative writing suddenly becomes more aware of its fictive nature, more ready to foreground and display its own devices. It thus compels the reader to recognize what is being read as what it is: fiction."
In addition to reading broadly, Borges mimicked other writers in his own work. He was influenced by the work of such fantasists as Edgar Allan Poe and Franz Kafka.
Borges was nearly unknown in most of the world until his sixties. In 1961 he was awarded the Prix Formentor, the International Publishers Prize, an honor he shared with Irish playwright Samuel Beckett.
Borges published his original works in multiple countries at a time. In 1926 he published two poems in Spain and was featured in an Argentina anthology.
Borges' work was difficult for readers to obtain. Early in his career in published in multiple countries and he did nothing to make his work more accessible.