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The Aleph (1949)

por Jorge Luis Borges

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1,958476,096 (4.17)21
Borges' stories have a deceptively simple, almost laconic style. In maddeningly ingenious stories that play with the very form of the short story, Borges returns again and again to his themes: dreams, labyrinths, mirrors, infinite libraries, the manipulations of chance, gaucho knife-fighters, transparent tigers and the elusive nature of identity itself.… (mais)

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Inglês (20)  Espanhol (13)  Italiano (8)  Francês (3)  Português (Brasil) (2)  Sueco (1)  Todas as línguas (47)
Mostrando 1-5 de 47 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
"There's no need to build a labyrinth when the entire universe is one." (pg. 101)

I always find it hard to review Borges, in part because it's always more difficult to zero in on why you enjoy the things you enjoy than it is to tear apart the things you dislike; in part because of the formidable intricacy of Borges' stories; and partly because there is a consistency of style, theme and excellence across them, for all that each is unique, and it means I find I am repeating myself as to the superlatives I use. Borges' The Aleph, the Penguin edition of which also includes selections from The Maker, is another arresting collection of laconic stories about warriors, mystics, gauchos, criminals and ordinary men, that also delves into original and profound questions of reality, humanity, memory and infinity. And yet, in writing that sentence, I feel I have failed to say anything worthwhile; that I have repeated my reviews of Ficciones, Labyrinths and The Book of Sand.

It is perhaps inevitable, when trying to assess this master of paradox and constructor of labyrinths, this believer in the cyclical and the eternal, that I find myself returning to the same meagre, catch-all superlatives in my reviews. Borges, of course, says it better than I can, and all I can do is try to recognise it when he does: "although in one's memory days all tend to be the same," he writes in 'The Wait', "there wasn't a day, even when a man was in jail or hospital, that didn't have its surprises" (pp108-9). This captures the book's essence, a shape-shifting that retains a single shape: stories of meticulous detail that are unique and precise and dedicated, and yet each of which contains universally-applicable multitudes. "Which of us, walking through the twilight or retracing some day in our past, has never felt that we have lost some infinite thing?" Borges asks on page 167, and it is this universal journey which runs through each of his stories even when no more overt similarities can be found.

Many of the stories are immaculate. Not only are they, as I have suggested, intricate and profound on a literary and conceptual level, but they also have a popular element: many are adventures and mysteries and crime stories following the warriors and mystics and gauchos I mentioned above. Borges writes that these stories "belong to the genre of fantasy" (pg. 134), and this is the only line in the book which falls short (perhaps intentionally). With respect to the fantasy genre, these are so much more than that. It is literature of the highest class. Borges can deliver, with casual precision, elegant thoughts on innumerable topics that are not only gold, but gold in a chest full of other treasures.

In the third story, 'The Theologians', Borges writes of that "nagging sense of guilt" felt by those who possess libraries, that they have not yet been "acquainted with every volume" (pg. 28). I did not intend to read The Aleph so soon after my last Borges (less than a month ago), but the book was primed on my shelf and the stories have proved so compelling that, rather than a sense of guilt, I feel only excitement that I have so many more yet to read.

"I am not certain whether I ever believed in the City of the Immortals; I think the task of finding it was enough for me." (pg. 5) ( )
  Mike_F | Sep 13, 2020 |
Edición crítica y facsimilar
  Konvk | Sep 4, 2020 |
CX16
  Taddone | Nov 25, 2019 |
[3.5 / 5] Borges cuenta cuentos sobre lo infinito, o mejor dicho de las ideas que componen ese concepto tan nebuloso. En esta colección se habla de la inmortalidad y del pasado tan remoto que no tiene inicio. Se habla de paralelos y de historias que están repetidas (o quizá son las mismas y es uno el que es finito).

Las historias de este libro se conectan entre sí con algunas frases, pero no todas son parte del ciclo (como lo hace Michael Ende, por ejemplo) y tienen siempre la idea de algo más allá: del conocimiento, del tiempo, de la razón. Bien dicen que este libro habla del infinito.

Se puede leer rápido, la prosa académica no interfiere mucho con la lectura casual y ayuda mucho al curioso. No era lo que yo buscaba, pero sí fue muchas cosas buenas que yo no sospechaba siquiera. ( )
  andycyca | Aug 6, 2019 |
This was Borges's third major collection of short stories, and like all the others has appeared in several different versions with different contents - the one I read was based on the 1952 edition, containing seventeen stories and a short Epilogue.

The stories pick up a good range of the famous Borges themes: there are three labyrinth-stories (one Cretan, one Arab/Persian, one a Conan Doyle parody), a couple of gaucho stories riffing off the Argentinian epic Martín Fierro, several paradoxes in which death doesn't work the way we expect it to, a couple of stories about medieval thinkers (Islamic in one case, Christian in the other), a couple of Buenos Aires crime stories with odd twists, and a monologue by a condemned Nazi war criminal that forces us to look again at any comfortable assumption that we can cut 1933-1945 out of our picture of German culture and carry on with the rest. And of course there is the eponymous Aleph - a point in which we can see all the points in the universe from all directions - and its counterpart, the Zahir - a trivial thing that we can't stop thinking about. Just about all the stories address the limitations of the narrator's - and even more the reader's - knowledge of events. Frequently, the narrator tells us that the text is incomplete and must be revised, or adds material that has come to light subsequently.

Women, as usual in Borges, are mostly absent or in the background. Only the story "Emma Zunz" has a female protagonist. Borges makes a point of telling us that its plot was suggested to him by his friend, the dancer Cecilia Ingenieros, but once he's taken the step of letting a woman into one of his stories he seems to be quite happy to let her act with the same kind of limitations and autonomy he gives to his male characters. "El Aleph" and "El Zahir" both have dead, offstage women who act only as romantic love-interest for the narrator; a couple of women sneak into the end of "Historia del guerrero y de la cautiva" but we only get to see them at second-hand. Other than that, it might as well be "Billy Budd"...

Coming back to these stories after many years, I was impressed again by the clarity and conciseness of Borges's writing. However complicated the mathematical, historical, philosophical or theological issues he's dealing with, his sentences never get tangled up in them - on the face of it, everything looks clear, bright and logical. It's only when we step back for a moment that we realise what an astonishing paradox we've just been tricked into accepting.

Overrated or not, Borges is simply someone you have to re-read from time to time: there's no way around it! ( )
1 vote thorold | Jun 26, 2019 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (17 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Jorge Luis Borgesautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculated
Arrigucci Jr., DaviTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Axelsson, SunTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Bjurman, LarsTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Grčić, MarkoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Hurley, AndrewTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lotass, LottaPrefácioautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Lundkvist, ArturTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Telećan, MilivojTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Tentori Montalto, FrancescoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Torres, MarinaTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wiking, IngegerdTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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En Londres, a principios del mes de junio de 1929, el anticuario Joseph Cartaphilus, de Esmirna, ofreció a la princesa de Lucinge los seis volúmenes en cuarto menor (1715-1720) de la Ilíada de Pope.
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Borges' stories have a deceptively simple, almost laconic style. In maddeningly ingenious stories that play with the very form of the short story, Borges returns again and again to his themes: dreams, labyrinths, mirrors, infinite libraries, the manipulations of chance, gaucho knife-fighters, transparent tigers and the elusive nature of identity itself.

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