Jorges Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires in 1899 and educated in Europe. One of the most widely acclaimed writers of our time, he published many collections of poems, essays and short stories, before his death in Geneva in June 1986. In 1961 Borges shared the International Publishers' Prize with Samuel Beckett. The Ingram Merrill Foundation granted him its Annual Literary Award in 1966 for his "outstanding contribution to literature." In 1971 Columbia University awarded him the first of many degrees of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa that he was to receive from the English-speaking world. In 1971 he received the fifth biennial Jerusalem Prize and in 1973 was given the Alfonso Reyes Prize, one of Mexico's most prestigious cultural awards. In 1980 he shared the Cervantes Prize (the Spanish world's highest literary accolade) with Gerardo Diego. Borges was Director of the Argentine National Library from 1955 until 1973. In a tribute to Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa wrote: "His is a world of clear, pure, and at the same time unusual ideas...expressed in words of great directness and restraint. [He] was a superb storyteller. One reads most of Borges' tales with the hypnotic interest usually reserved for reading detective fiction..." Andrew Hurley is a translator of numerous works of literature, criticism, history, and memoir. He is professor emeritus at the University of Puerto Rico.
Jorge Luis Borges was born in 1899 and died in 1986 and has an academic affiliation as follows - New Directions.
Jorge Luis Borges has published or released items in the following series...
Borges' short stories are masterful, unique, enchanting, seducing. I cannot compare them to anything else I have read, except perhaps - very remotely - to Edgar Allan Poe. However, the most striking feature of Borges' stories is a complete and singular quest for the metaphysical in even the simplest occurence, the smallest word. Befitting then that this selection of stories is named after the story "The Aleph", about the Hebrew letter that contains the whole universe. Borges makes it possible and plausible! Hint to first-time reader: read the first 1-2 pages of each story quickly without trying to understand and then go back and read it again from the start. Try it, it works.
PS This edition also includes "The Maker", a series of very short "vignettes" written by Borges later in his life, and not as convincing as "The Aleph".
To see the entire world May 2, 2007
Trying to full describe the writings of Jorge Luis Borges is like trying to explain exactly why Leonardo da Vinci's art still captivates. The man wrote works of art.
"The Aleph and Other Stories" includes several of Borges' stories, with all sorts of surreal twists in a seemingly ordinary world. But this collection is a shining example of why people enjoy Borges -- magical, rich in language, and lets us glimpse the minds of anything and anyone he can conjure up.
The title story involves a sort of fictional version of Borges, who makes regular pilgrimages to the house of a woman he loved, and encounters her slightly nuts first cousin Daneri, who is composing a horrible epic poem describing the whole world. When Daneri's house is threatened, he reveals how he's composed the poem -- the Aleph, which he discovered as a child, and he allows Borges to catch a glimpse of... everything.
The other stories have tales of heretics and holy men, of a man's last days awaiting an assassin's bullet, of a girl who coldly seeks revenge for her father, and the Zahir (the opposite of the Aleph), which can cause an all-encompassing obsession in the one who sees it, until they shut out reality.
It's hard to even find a flaw with "The Aleph" -- Borges' writing is exquisitely detailed and atmospheric, and densely packed with philosophical pockets. The main flaw with this collection is that it's basically split into two very dissimilar styles -- some of them are short and relatively plain, while the others are dense pockets of philosophy. In fact, all the stories are based on the idea of shared experiences and infinite time, where there are no "new" experiences but only repetition.
And Borges wraps these stories in lush, digified prose that takes a little while to wade through, but the richness of the words he uses is worth it ("every generation of mankind includes four honest men who secretly hold up the universe and justify it"). And his writing takes on many different people's selves -- he even makes readers squirm by taking us into the mind of a loyal Nazi.
It's almost like another world, Borgeworld, which is almost like ours, but where magical items are hidden in the cellars, soldiers are forgotten, the Minotaur plays in his maze, and God dreams of mortal lives. The most entrancing foray into Borgeworld is "The Immortal," about a Roman soldier who goes searching for a city of immortals, and finds an ancient poet who seems very familiar.
"The Aleph and Other Stories" is a brilliant collection of Borges' exquisite stories. Magical and gritty, beautiful and haunting -- this collection should be cherished.
Fantastico! Feb 20, 2006
Leí este libro hace dos años y me pareció excelente. 'Los Tigres Azules' y 'El Aleph' son cuentos que más me gustaron. Recomiendo a todos.
I read this book 2 years ago and found it excellent. 'Blue Tigers' and 'The Aleph' are the stories that I liked most of all. I recomend the book to everybody.
First time with Borges Aug 22, 2005
This is the first time I read J.L. Borges. The stories, somehow disturb me. Some are confusing, but all of them attract the reader because the are so well written and are full of memorable sentences. If you want to have a reference in latinamerican narrative you have to read Borges.
Interesante compendio Borgiano Oct 21, 2004
Este es el tercer libro de Borges que leo (tras su 'Historia universal de la infamia' y su 'Manual de zoologia fantastica'), y aunque me parece menos interesante que los otros dos, merece ser leido.
Igual que las otras obras de Borges mencionadas anteriormente, se trata de un compendio de cuentos, escritos en un estilo denominado 'realismo magico'. Los hechos fantasticos se mezclan con hechos potencialmente veraces, y los limites entre lo posible y lo imposible, lo verdadero y lo falso se acaban por difuminar. Asi, en el cuento 'La escritura de Dios', un sacerdote mexica capturado por el conquistador Alvarado (contexto historico potencialmente veraz) es encarcelado con un jaguar (verdad? simbologia?) en cuyas manchas cree ver un mensaje de dios (locura? es verdad el mensaje?).
Ejemplos parecidos a este se repiten en todos los cuentos del libro e invitan al lector a dudar de lo que es verdadero o falso, y de su propia capacidad de comprension de lo que le rodea.