For those interested, I’ve included a short bibliography of the books and essays that have been most useful to me. I’m not going to review them because there are too many and they serve somewhat different purposes, but I do want to highlight the following for being the most informative, most thoroughly researched, and the best written. The Borges book is noteworthy primarily because, well, it’s Borges, as well as encapsulating his enduring interest in the form (primarily the music). Many of the authors found below disagree with him about the origins of tango and its development but no one has written about it more compellingly. The Horacio Salas is also among the best. Salas is a historian and writes lucidly and with authority. Critically, he includes historical and sociological details about the earliest periods of tango in Buenos Aires, its social history, that I haven’t found elsewhere, including some very astute comments about etymology and the social life of tango’s practitioners around 1900. The Julie Taylor book is excellent. She is, I believe, an anthropologist specializing in dance history and her work is all well researched and well presented. She’s thorough, careful, and lucid. She has also been a tango dancer for many years, which lends a degree of authority to her work. Finally, the Nardo Zalko work on tango in Paris is excellent both for its overview of tango’s development in Buenos Aires and, most importantly, the story of its rapid rise to prominence in Paris. It’s an important period in tango’s development and Zalko’s book is filled with details unobtainable elsewhere.


La Historia del Tango, vol. 1, Sus orígenes (Corregidor, 1976).

La Historia del Tango, vol. ?, Los años veinte (Corregidor, 1977).

Jo BaimTango: Creation of a Cultural Icon (Indiana University Press, 2007).

Gustavo Benecry SabáThe Quest for the Embrace: The History of the Tango Dance 1800-1983 (Abrazos, 2021).

Adriana J. BergeroIntersecting Tango: Cultural Geographies of Buenos Aires, 1900-1930 (University of Pittsburgh, 2008)

Jorge Luis BorgesEvaristo Carriego, trans. Norman Thomas di Giovanni (E. P. Dutton, 1984).

Jorge Luis BorgesEl Tango: Cuatro conferencias (Lumen, 2016).

Donald S. CastroThe Argentine Tango as Social History, 1880-1955: The Soul of the People (San Francisco: Mellen Research University Press, 1990).

Donald S. CastroThe Afro-Argentine in Argentine Culture: El Negro del Acordeón (San Francisco: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2001).

Simon Collier, Artemis Cooper, Maria Susana Azzi, Richard Martin, Tango (Thames and Hudson1995).

Edgardo Cozarinsky, trans. Valerie Miles, Milongas (Archipelago Books, 2021).

Christine DennistonThe Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentine Dance (Portico, 2007).

Mike Gonzalez and Marian Yanes, Tango: Sex and Rhythm of the City (Reaktion Books, 2013).

Michael LavocahTango Stories: Musical Secrets (Milonga Press, 2012).

Michael LavocahTango Masters: Osvaldo Pugliese (Milonga Press, 2016).

Michael LavocahTango Masters: Francisco Canaro (Milonga Press, 2021).

Michel PlissonTango: De Noir au Blanc (Actes Sud, 2001).

Vicente RossiOrígenes Africanos del Tango: Aportes al Folklore Rioplatense (Editorial Nuevo Mundo, 2018 reprint).

Horacio SalasEl Tango (Emecé Argentina, 2004).

Julie TaylorPaper Tangos (Duke University Press, 1998).

David ThomasGetting to Know: Twenty Tango Orchestras (Tango Journey, 2016).

R. F. ThomsonTango: The Art History of Love (Vintage, 2006).

Carlos VegaEstudios para los orígenes del tango Argentino (UCA, 2016)

Daniel VidartEl Tango y su mundo, 2nd ed. (2021)

Jason WilsonBuenos Aires: A Cultural History (Interlink Books, 2007).

Brian WinterLong after Midnight at the Niño Bien: A Yanqui’s Missteps in Argentina (Public Affairs, 2007).

Nardo ZalkoUn Siècle de Tango: Paris-Bueno Aires (Éditions du félin, 2016).

Essays and shorter works

“A Sense of Where You Were,” The Economist, Dec. 20, 2001.

“Can Another Body Be Seen as an Extension of Your Own?” Scientific American, 2016.

Christophe Apprill, “Le tango, une « musique à danser »: à l’épreuve de la reconstruction du bal,” Civilisations, Vol. 53, No. 1/2, Musiques “Populaires”: catégorísatíons et usages socíaux (2006), pp. 75-96.

Michele McKay Aynseworth, “Borges and Tango: Imagining Argentina,” West Virginia University Philological Papers, 52, 2006.

Maria Susana Azzi, “Multicultural Tango: The Impact and the Contribution of the Italian Immigration to the Tango in Argentina” (International Journal of Musicology, 1996, Vol. 5 (1996), pp. 437-453).

Eduardo Berti, “Éloge tempéré du tango,” Magazine Litteraire, 376 (May 1999).

Brian Bockelman, “Between the Gaucho and the Tango: Popular Songs and the Shifting Landscape of Modern Argentine Identity, 1895-1915,” The American Historical Review, Vol. 116, No. 3 (June 2011), pp. 577-601.

Jorge Luis Borges, “Ascendencias del tango,” in El idioma de los argentinos, 1928.

Siobhan Burke, “In ‘Milonga,’ Tango and Contemporary Flirt,” review, The New York Times, Feb. 27, 2015.

Lila Caimari, “Police, tango et argot: culture policière et culture populaire à Buenos Aires au Xxe siècle” (Univ. de San Andrés” [Buenos Aires], 2013).

J.N.F.M. à Campo, “’Amarrado al recuerdo’—The Memory Dimension in Classical Tango Lyrics,” Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, Volume 29, 2011, pp. 115-141.

Ana C. Cara, “Entangled Tangos: Passionate Displays, Intimate Dialogues,” The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 122, No. 486, Latin American Dance in Transnational Contexts (Fall, 2009), pp. 438-465.

María Julia Carozzi, “Light women dancing tango: Gender images as allegories of heterosexual relationships,” Current Sociology, 61(1) 22–39.

Donald Castro, “The Afro-Argentine in Argentine Culture: El Negro del Acordeón,” The Edwin Mellen Press, Afro-Hispanic Review, January – September 1988, Vol. 7, No. 1/2/3 (January – September 1988), pp. 11-18.

Donald S. Castro, “The Afro-Argentine Payador Tradition: The Art of Gabino Ezeiza,” Afro-Hispanic Review, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Fall 1994), pp. 9-17.

Sofia Cecconi, “Territorios del tango en Buenos Aires: aportes para una historia de sus formas de inscripción,” Iberoamericana (2001-), Nueva época, Año 9, No. 33 (Marzo de 2009), pp. 49-68.

Daniel Chandler, “Notes on the Gaze,” Film Principles (Hum 3), Mass Communication Department Humanities Division, Ateneo de Davao University.

Seymour Chatman, “The Styles of Narrative Codes,” in The Concept of Style, edited by Beryl Lang (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1987).

Léon Chertok, “’Suggestio Rediviva’: The Vicissitudes of a Concept over Two Centuries,” SubStance, Vol. 14, No. 3, Issue 48 (1986), pp. 3-26.

Simon Collier, “The Popular Roots of the Argentine Tango,” History Workshop, No. 34, Latin American History (Autumn, 1992), pp. 92-100.

Kathy Davis, “Salon Cultures,” in Dancing Tango: Passionate Encounters in a Globalizing World (NYU Press, 2015).

Doth, “Gustavo Naveira: Interview,” March 2005.

Willim G. Doty, “Sacrificial Scapegoating the Origin of Myth/Religion?” in Mythography: The Study of Myths and Rituals(Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2000).

Matías Fació, “Historia del Baile de Tango (Recopilación de comentarios realizados por Gloria y Eduardo Arquimbau),” 2012 (digital).

David William Foster, “Tango, Buenos Aires, Borges: Cultural Production and Urban Sexual Regulation,” in Imagination Beyond Nation: Latin American Popular Culture (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998).

Samuel G. Freedman, “’Tango Argentino,’ The Season’s Improbable Hit,” The New York Times, Dec. 19, 1985.

Sam Gill, “Dancing Ritual, Ritual Dancing: Experiential Teaching,” in Catherine Bell, Teaching Ritual (Oxford Scholarship Online, 2007).

Daniela Anabel González, “The construction of an Italian diasporic identity in the city of Buenos Aires at the turn of the 19th century,” in Music Practices Across Borders: (E)Valuating Space, Diversity and Exchange (Transcript Verlag).

M. Hertenstein, D. Keltner, Betsy App, B. A. Bulleit, and A. R. Jaskolka, “Touch Communicates Distinct Emotions,” Emotion, 2006, Vol. 6, No. 3, 528-533.

[?] Hill, “Choreographing National Identity: The Symbolic Journey of Samba and Tango” (Macalestr College, 2009).

Rémi Hess, “De la valse au tango, une relation à trois. Le lieu d’où l’on cause,” L’Homme et la société, N. 127-128, 1998.

M. Cecilia Hwangpo, “El Compadre: Un Tipo Porteño Liminal y Espacial,” Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, Año 35, No. 70 (2009), pp. 257-272.

Annette Karpp, “Negotiating Machismo, ‘Exoticism’ and Feminism on the Dancefloor: Tango Argentino and Transcultural Encounters in the 20th and 21st Century,” posted on 20/07/2017.

Kapka Kassabova, “It Takes Two,” review of Dancing Tango by Katahy Davis, Times Literary Supplement, July 24, 2015.

María Mercedes Liska, “El arte de adecentar los sonidos: Huellas de las operaciones de normalización del tango argentino, 1900–1920,” Latin American Music Review, Volume 35, Number 1, Spring/Summer 2014, pp. 25-49.

Michael T. Luongo, “Argentina Rediscovers its African Roots,” The New York Times, Sept, 12, 2014.

Alejandro Maidana, “La Argentina negra y su genocidio discursivo” (June 2020).

Rafael Mandressi and Heloise Finch-Boyer, “Dancing with ‘le sexe’. Eroticism and exoticism in the Parisian reception of tango (1907-1914),” Clio. Women, Gender, History, no. 46, Dancing (2017), pp. 84-106.

William W. Megenney, “The River Plate ‘Tango’: Etymology and Origins,” Afro-Hispanic Review, Vol. 22, No. 2 (Fall 2003), pp. 39-45.

Carolyn Merritt, “’Manejame como un auto,’ Drive Me Like a Car, or What’s So New about Tango Nuevo,” Chapter 6 (need title).

Carlos Hernán Morel, “Vuelve el tango: ‘Tango argentino’ y las narrativas sobre el resurgimiento del baile en Buenos Aires,” Revista del Museo de Antropología 5: 77-88, 2012.

Brandon Olszewski, “El Cuerpo del Baile: The Kinetic and Social Fundaments of Tango,” Body & Society, 2008.

Sylvain B. Poosson, “’Entre Tango y Payada’: The Expression of Blacks in 29th Century Argentina,” Confluencia, Fall 2004, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Fall 2004), pp. 87-99.

Eduardo Romano, “El papel del tango en el criollismo de Borges,” Variaciones Borges, No. 43 (2017), pp. 53-66.

Andrea Rexilius, “The Light of This Wound: Marriage, Longing, Desire in Anne Carson’s The Beauty of the Husband” (University of Michigan Press).

Ma. Teresa Sanhueza, “Italian Immigrants in Argentina: Some Representations on Stage,” Italian Americana, Winter 2003, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Winter 2003), pp. 5-21.

Beatriz Sarlo, “Borges: tradition and the avant-garde,” Borges Studies Online, 2001 (

Marta Savigliano, “Whiny Ruffians and Rebellious Broads: Tango as a Spectacle of Eroticized Social Tension,” Theatre Journal, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 83-104.

William Sayers, “Identity Politics, Lexicography, and the Etymology of ‘Tango-una vez más,’” Romance Notes, 2013, Vol. 53, No. 2 (2013), pp. 155-164.

Sophia Scorcia, “Italian Influence on Argentinian Theater: Italian Immigrants, Cocoliche, and the Sainete,” The Italian Diaspora in South America (Dickinson College).

Kendra Stepputat, “Musicality and Tango Danceability,” in The World of Music, 2020, new series, v. 9, no. 2, Choreomusicology II Translocality | Local Ontologies (2020), 51-68.

Alejandro Susti, “Borges, Tango, and Milonga,” trans. Katharina Keppel and Marilyn G. Miller (Duke University Press).

Julie Taylor, “Tango: Theme of Class and Nation,” Ethnomusicology, Vol. 20, No. 2 (May, 1976), pp. 273-291.

Julie Taylor, “Tango,” Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Nov., 1987), pp. 481-493.

Julie Taylor, “Desdemona’s Lament,” TDR (1988-), Vol. 45, No. 4 (Winter, 2001), pp. 106-124.

Julie Taylor, “Dressed As a Dancer: The Grotesque, Violence, and the Argentine Tango,” TDR (1988-), Vol. 57, No. 3 (Fall 2013), pp. 117-131.

John Turci-Escobar, “‘Era de lo más pobre y de lo más lindo’: Reconsidering Jorge Luis Borges’s Views on the Tango,” Variaciones Borges, No. 43 (2017), pp. 67-86.

Carlos Vega, “La formación coreográfica del tango argentino” (Revista del Instituto de Investigation Musicologica Carlos Vega, 1977).

Anahí Viladrich, “Argentine Tango Artists: The Craft of Marketing Authenticity,” in More Than Two to Tango: Argentine Tango Immigrants in New York City (University of Arizona Press, 2013).

Ana-Cara Walker, “Borges’ Milongas: The Chords of Argentina,” in Borges the Poet, ed. Carlos Cortinez (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 1986).

Sabine Zubarik, “Touch Me if You Can: The Practice of Close Embrace as a Facilitator of Kineshetic Empathy in Argentine Tango,” in Touching and Being Touched: Kinesthesia and Empathy in Dance and Movement, ed. Gabriele Brandstetter, Gerko Egert, and Sabine Zubarik (De Gruyter. 2013).