Read Other Inquisitions, 1937-1952 by Jorge Luis Borges Ruth L. Simms Online


This remarkable book by one of the great writers of our time includes essays on a proposed universal language, a justification of suicide, a refutation of time, the nature of dreams, and the intricacies of linguistic forms. Borges comments on such literary figures as Pascal, Coleridge, Cervantes, Hawthorne, Whitman, Valery, Wilde, Shaw, and Kafka. With extraordinary graceThis remarkable book by one of the great writers of our time includes essays on a proposed universal language, a justification of suicide, a refutation of time, the nature of dreams, and the intricacies of linguistic forms. Borges comments on such literary figures as Pascal, Coleridge, Cervantes, Hawthorne, Whitman, Valery, Wilde, Shaw, and Kafka. With extraordinary grace and erudition, he ranges in time, place, and subject from Omar Khayyam to Joseph Conrad, from ancient China to modern England, from world revolution to contemporary slang....

Title : Other Inquisitions, 1937-1952
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ISBN : 9780292760028
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 223 Pages
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Other Inquisitions, 1937-1952 Reviews

  • BlackOxford
    2019-04-23 12:28

    The Zohar for BeginnersJorge Luis Borges’s fascination with the Kabbalah is self-attested and well known. He wrote two substantial pieces on the work and made frequent allusion to it in his themes and stories. I decided to try my hand at some Kabbalah-uncovering by re-reading Other Inquisitions 1937-1952. And seeking of course does mean finding:In ‘The Wall and the Books’ Borges’s perennial and explicitly dialectical theme of revelation and concealment is combined with the theme of eternity. This is summarised elegantly in his final phrase, “...that imminence of a revelation that is not yet produced is, perhaps, the aesthetic reality.”The Rev Raiah Kook puts the same idea somewhat less laconically in the Root HaKodesh, “The present and the future are divided within the truth of being. That which has been is that which shall be, and that which has been done is that which shall be done. That which has already been done and that which shall be done in the future is gradually being done in the present, constantly and frequently.”‘Pascal’s Sphere’closes with a similarly powerful sentence on two more themes of the Kabbalah, universal history and language, “Perhaps universal history is the history of the diverse intonation of a few metaphors.” In the Kabbalah universal history refers to the metaphorical contraction, breakage and restoration that are held to be fully present in all things, events and experiences at all times. These metaphorical ‘moments’constitute the Absolute, the Ein-Sof of God, which is the contradiction of all Absolutes. Just as Borges says: the entire history of the cosmos in just a few metaphors.Borges’s meditation on ‘The Flower of Coleridge’ returns to the aesthetic idea of the future as impending revelation, “More incredible than a celestial flower or the flower of a dream is the flower of the future, the unlikely flower whose atoms now occupy other spaces and have not yet been assembled.” He continues this theme of revelation breaking into the present in ‘The Dream of Coleridge’ in a somewhat Jungian tone, “Perhaps an archetype not yet revealed to men, an eternal object (to use Whitehead’s term) is gradually entering the world; its first manifestation was the palace; its second was the poem. Whoever compared them would have seen that they were essentially the same.” The Zohar in the same spirit considers a dream un-interpreted as a letter unopened, already present but waiting to be revealed. Dreams demand attention because they show how forms can morph and yet remain constant in their denotation. As the Baal HaSulam explains in his study of ‘Inner Reflection’ in The Study of the Ten Sefirot, “…you should know that spiritual movement is not like tangible movement from place to place. Rather, it refers to a renewal of form, for we denominate every renewal of form by the name ‘movement.’" The idea of morphing forms maintaining their significance is identical to Borges's.Eternity is the explicit theme of ’Time and J. W. Dunne.’ Borges makes an apparently ’non-denominational’ reference when he says, “Theologians define eternity as the simultaneous and lucid possession of all instants of time and declare it to be one of the divine attributes.” His use of ‘attributes’ rather than ’names’, however, suggests he is not referring to Christian theologians but to Jewish mystics who view God in an almost pantheistic dispersion throughout creation. The Sulam commentary, for example, says, “The Zohar speaks nothing of corporeal incidents, but of the upper worlds, where there is no sequence of times as it is in corporeality. Spiritual time is elucidated by change of forms and degrees that are above time and place.” The universe itself is eternal, a thought shared interestingly with Thomas Aquinas as well as Borges.‘The Creation and P. H. Gosse’ turns the idea of infinity inside out, as it were, by considering the very small rather than the very large. “God lies in wait”, Borges writes, “in the intervals [of time].” His anticipation of quantum time is stunning enough, but once again his condensation of Kabbalistic insight is even more remarkable. Kabbalah defines time as the distance between cause and effect, the separation between action and reaction, the divide between the crime and its consequence. Within this temporal “gap” it is hoped that a person eventually becomes enlightened to the senselessness of his negative ways and to recognise the rewards associated with spiritual growth and positive, unselfish behaviour. Precisely the place where Borges's God ambushes the wary soul.It occurs to me that to go on showing the extent to which every Borges story is not just affected by but steeped in Kabbalah is pointless. Once seen, it is impossible to un-see. Even his sarcastic critique of a pompous Spanish literary pundit, ‘Dr. Americo Castro Is Alarmed’, reflects fundamental beliefs about language as a divine gift rather than a human possession. Says one scholar of The Zohar, “Letters, symbols, and speech serve for conveying spiritual knowledge, and attainment. Every letter of every alphabet contains its spiritual meaning because people convey their sensations through books. Any sensation, not only human but animal as well, represents an unconscious perception of the Creator. Nobody understands this, but in reality when a poet for example, composes a verse portraying his love for a woman, children, the sun, light, or even in describing his suffering, he is expressing his impressions of the light that acts upon him, whether he wants it or not.” Much the same could be claimed for Borges’s writing. For me the comparison enhances an appreciation of both Borges and the Kabbalah.

  • Dan
    2019-05-05 04:03

    I have had the dream several times now, I don’t remember exactly how many. However, after dreaming it a third time, two weeks ago on a moonless night, I began writing down notes about it, and adding details with each successive dreaming. It usually begins with Borges and I playing a video game—sometimes the Wii Chess and sometimes Guitar Hero (the Bob Marley version). After Borges rakes up an obscene number of wins, we sit next to a window, drinking a hot beverage and studying the colorful street scene outside. Then Borges takes out his laptop and tells me he has read my review of his book of essays, Other Inquisitions. I am interested to hear what he thinks of it, because of all of his books, it is my favorite. I am crestfallen, however, when he tells me that it is clear to him that I have reviewed his book without reading it. He turns the laptop so that its screen is facing me. I look, and see my review there, with its mentions of the subjects of the essays—books, dreams, allegory, literature, philosophy, time. I see the references to the writers and thinkers Borges discusses—Kafka, Hawthorne, Coleridge, Cervantes, John Wilkins. I look from the screen to Borges, whose expression is that of one who is waiting to hear the sound of a tree falling in the forest. I gather my wits about me, stammering, “But, but, this is a recommendation! I think this is a great book! What is wrong with my review?” Borges reaches into a black leather satchel at his feet and removes something from it. He hands it to me. It is a book. On the front cover, above a photograph of a shelf full of books, there are the words “Other Inquisitions by Jorge Luis Borges.” I begin to thumb through the book, noting the fine quality paper and the faintly Germanic font. Then, as I scan some of the pages, I begin to see that many of the passages seem unfamiliar. In fact, I am not sure I have ever read any of them before. I flip back to the table of contents, where I see a list of titles that do not reflect the contents of the book with which I had believed myself familiar. Titles like “Pierre Menard and his Precursors,” and “Avatars of Quixote” and “The Analytic Language of Bustos-Domecq.” I set the book down on the table between Borges and myself, taking care to find a spot that has not become damp from the condensation left by our warm drinking mugs. He, sensing my perplexity, begins to smile, and says, “You see, you have not reviewed my Other Inquisitions. This book contains them. Please read it before you review it.” Then, putting his hand inside his jacket, he removes a pen from an inner pocket. The pen is a dull gold color, and while I am admiring it, he opens the front cover of the book and begins to sign it. At this time, I look back toward the review, my review, on the screen of the laptop, resolving to delete it at the earliest opportunity. Then, turning back to Borges, I see that he is holding the book out, waiting for me to take it. It is at this point that I wake up.

  • Jeremy
    2019-05-02 09:08

    Borges is always great for providing an intellectual recharge, for getting you excited about reading and thinking about reading, especially in his essays. Reading these, it's hard to not be overwhelmed by how vast his erudition is. Classical literature, adventure novels, philosphy, obscure mystical tracts, half forgotten literary criticsm from the 19th century, absolutely everything is grist for his mill. You could probably spend a lifetime just reading everything in the book's index. And yet at no point does he feel like he's showing off. His tone in these pieces, while still formal, paradoxically has this really intimate, humorous quality to it as well. And hey, it made me think Nathaniel Hawthorne was actually funny instead of just a grimace-inducing moralizer.

  • trovateOrtensia
    2019-05-02 09:22

    Il trionfo dell'intelligenza."Le filosofie di Heidegger e di Jaspers fanno di ciascuno di noi l'interessante interlocutore di un dialogo segreto e continuo col nulla o con la divinità; queste discipline, che formalmente possono essere ammirevoli, fomentano l'illusione dell'io che il Vedanta riprova come errore capitale. Sogliono giocare alla disperazione e all'angoscia, ma nel fondo lusingano la vanità; sono, in tale senso, immorali. "(...) il tempo, facilmente confutabile sul piano sensitivo, non lo è altrettanto sul piano intellettuale, dalla cui essenza pare inseparabile il concetto di successione."

  • Angelo Giardini
    2019-04-24 08:21

    Trata-se de uma coletânea de ensaios e textos esparsos de Borges que, com certeza, agradará a todos que se interessam por discutir livros e literatura (o tema principal da grande maioria dos textos). É fascinante como Borges navega através dos tempos, recuando até textos mitológicos da Índia, da China, ou textos clássicos gregos, romanos e hebráicos, e traçando paralelos com autores mais contemporâneos dos Séculos XVIII, XIX ou XX.Além dos temas que lhe são sempre caros, o que me saltou mais aos olhos foi o grande amor que Borges dedica à literatura em língua inglesa. No final, sai com vontade de ler alguma coisa (ou mais alguma coisa) de Hawthorne, Oscar Wilde, Chesterton e H. G. Wells.Enfim, altamente recomendável a todos que se interessam por literatura; mas um perigo para quem está evitando comprar mais livros.

  • Cherch
    2019-05-20 08:25

    A momentos demasiado densa y a momentos extraordinaria, esta compilación de textos publicados por Borges en diversos medios impresos funciona como una especie de disección intelectual del autor. Editado cuando Borges había ya perdido por completo la vista, 'Otras inquisiciones' es un testamento de la etapa más creativa del célebre autor argentino, exponiendo en cada uno de los textos que componen al libro miríadas de temas y cuestionamientos, que buscan ahondar en las principales preocupaciones intelectuales de Borges.Estudio profundo de los temas que se perciben con mayor síntesis y sutileza en la obra poética y los textos de ficción de Borges, 'Otras inquisiciones' no es tanto una batalla encarnizada para encontrar respuestas, sino un manual de la erudición de su autor; una hermosa autobiografía intelectual.+++Algunas notas carentes de interés y únicamente para uso personal sobre los textos más interesantes del libro.1. La esfera de Pascal:Quizá la historia universal es la historia de la diversa entonación de algunas metáforas."La naturaleza es una esfera infinita, cuyo centro está en todas partes y la circunferencia en ninguna". Al consultarse el manuscrito original con sus tachaduras, Pascal había escrito "La naturaleza es una esfera espantosa, cuyo centro..."2. La flor de Coleridge:Todos los escritores son el mismo, todos los poemas son un fragmento de un poema infinito. Relación entre Coleridge, que plantea el retorno de alguien de la muerte con una rosa, HG Wells, que plantea el retorno con la máquina del tiempo y Henry James, cuyo viaje en el tiempo se da por la compenetración con un retrato.3. El sueño de Coleridge:Kublai Khan, emperador mongol, erige en el siglo XIII un palacio conforme a los planos vistos en un sueño. En 1816 Coleridge publica un poema que soñó sobre el mismo palacio. El palacio, destruído, vive por siempre en el poema de Coleridge. 4. La creación y P. H. GosseGosse crea un brillante sofisma basado en la teoría de John Stuart Mill, que indica que el estado del universo en cualquier instante es consecuencia de su instante previo, y por tanto, si conocemos un sólo instante podríamos inferir toda su historia pasada y futura. Para comprobar, en contra de los paleontólogos, que la creación divina existió, Gosse plantea la creación como el punto cero del tiempo, como una discontinuidad que sin embargo, al crear todo de la nada, contempla una historia futura infinita pero al mismo tiempo una historia pasada infinita, que no existió, pero que se puede inferir. De ahí los fósiles de dinosaurios y reptiles prehistóricos, que están ahí porque Dios genera un continuo perfecto que puede rastrearse a un pasado infinito aunque este no haya existido.5. Las alarmas del Dr. Americo CastroDivertidísimo texto para ver a Borges en posición de ataque, contra un Dr. que se jacta de que el español argentino cada vez es más aberrante.6. Magias parciales del QuijoteHermoso texto sobre el metarrelato y su función en diferentes obras literarias mayores.7. Nathaniel HawthorneTranscripción de la conferencia que da Borges sobre el autor norteamericano oriundo de Salem, Hawthorne. Enfocada en la influencia de este en escritores como Kafka y Faulkner incluso, inaugurando la posibilidad onírica en la literatura norteamericana. Análisis del estupendo relato de Wakefield, un hombre que decide abandonar por mero divertimento a su mujer y durante 20 años la espía desde un edificio contiguo, para finalmente volver como si nada hubiera pasado.8. Nota sobre Walt WhitmanSentido análisis de la separación entre Whitman escritor y Whitman hombre. La admiración de Borges por el poeta resulta evidente y encantadora.9. El enigma de Edward FitzgeraldTexto con trasfondo similar al del sueño de Coleridge en el que Borges analiza la colaboración entre un poeta persa del siglo XI y Edward Fitzgerald que en el siglo XIX presenta una traducción de los escritos del antigüo poeta, vaciando mucho de él en ellos.10. El BiathanatosTomando como punto de partida el Biathanatos de John Donne, libro en el que el célebre poeta cavila sobre el suicidio, Borges elucubra sobre la teoría de que la crucifixión de Jesucristo fue en realidad un suicidio y que todo el universo se creó con el fin de que ese acontecimiento ocurriera. "Quizá el hierro fue creado para los clavos, y las espinas para la corona de escarnio, y la sangre y el agua para la herida. Esa idea barroca se entrevé en el Biathanatos. La de un Dios que fabrica el universo para fabricar su patíbulo."11. Avatares de la tortugaPlaneando una biografía del infinito, Borges elabora un primer acercamiento a los conceptos de la infinitud asociados a Zenón, Atistóteles, Platón, Lotze, etc. Ponderando la teoría del regressus.12. Del Culto de los librosEstupendo texto sobre la transición de la cultura oral (que desdeñaba a la palabra escrita por ser "dañina" y atrofiar la mente") al culto de la palabra escrita.13. Dos libros / Anotación al 23 de Agosto de 1944: Dos textos brillantes que muestran la faceta más política de Borges, elaborando conjeturas sobre los orígenes del fascismo y sobre su opinión respecto a la toma y recuperación de París.14. De alguien a nadieDios pasa de ser "los dioses" (Elohim) a ser la nada. "Ser una cosa es inexorablemente no ser todas las otras cosas" "Nada debe afirmarse de Dios, todo puede negarse" según Schopenhauer: "esa es la única teología verdadera, pero no tiene contenido"15. Nota sobre (hacia) Bernard Shaw:"Una literatura difiere de otra, ulterior o anterior, menos por el texto que por la menera de ser leída: si me fuera otorgado leer cualquier página actual -ésta, por ejemplo- como la leerán el año dos mil, yo sabría cómo será la literatura el año dos mil"16. Sobre los clásicos."Clásico no es un libro (lo repito) que necesariamente posee tales o cuales méritos; es un libro que las generaciones de los hombres, urgidas por diversas razones; leen con previo fervor y con una misteriosa lealtad."

  • Arthur Gonçalves
    2019-04-25 08:24

    Ler Borges é reler Borges: os seus ensaios servem de justificativa para seus contos e seus poemas; estes, por sua vez, justificam aqueles. Menos erudito e acadêmico do que "História da Eternidade" - e, portanto, melhor, ou mais prazeroso -, esse "Outras Inquisições" contém alguns dos meus ensaios favoritos do autor argentino: "A muralha e os livros", "A esfera de Pascal", "A flor de Coleridge" e "O sonho de Coleridge", "O idioma analítico de John Wilkins" (que descreve a impossível enciclopédia chinesa que inspirou Foucault), "Kafka e seus precursores", "Sobre os clássicos", "Nathaniel Hawthorne", "Das alegorias aos romances" e tantos outros. Ligando os ensaios, algumas questões em comum: Borges admitiu em outro texto ter sido um homem monótono, que se preocupou com os mesmos três ou quatro problemas ao longo de sua vida. Considerando sua obra e a alegria que ela me proporciona, agradeço imensamente a sua monotonia.

  • Susan
    2019-05-01 04:21

    Creative and insightful short essays on a variety of literary, historical and philosophical topics. Each essay is like opening the door to a new room in your house, with windows that overlook fantastic but somehow familiar landscapes, so you come away from each new view with a different way of seeing what was already there.

  • Aaron
    2019-05-23 10:13

    Spectacular word-nerd reading. Some quotes: p.5 - the "imminence of a revelation that is not yet produced is, perhaps, the aesthetic reality." p.7 - (quoting Alain de Lille) "God is an intelligible sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere." p.9 - "Perhaps universal history is the history of the diverse intonation of a few metaphors." p.14 - "Swinburne felt like what he [Coleridge] had been able to salvage was the supreme example of music in the English language, and that to try and analyze it ["Kubla Khan"] would be like trying to unravel a rainbow (the metaphor belongs to Keats). Summaries or descriptions of poetry hose principal virtue is music are useless and would only defeat our purpose". p.p.25 - Bertrand Russel (on creation/Genesis) "theorizes that the planet was created a few minutes ago, with a humanity that 'remembers' an illusory past." p.33 - "The illusions of patriotism are limitless." p.33 - (quoting Hegel) "The state is the reality of the moral idea." p.43 - "Conrad and Henry James incorporated reality into their novels because they deemed it poetic". p.50 - "the less an allegory can be reduced to a plan, to a cold set of abstractions, the better it is." p.51 - "Better are those pure fantasies that do not look for a justification or moral and that seem to have no other substance than an obscure terror." p.59 - "The past is indestructible; sooner or later all things will return, including the plan to abolish the past." p.71. - "Whitman's plan was to display an ideal democrat, not to devise a theory." p.79 - "Wilde's syntax is always very simple. Of the many British writers, none is so accessible to foreigners." p.87 - "Work that endures is always capable of an infinite and plastic ambiguity; it is all things for all men, like the Apostle; it is a mirror that reflects the reader's own traits and it is also a map of the world."

  • Matthew
    2019-05-10 09:08

    There is a beautiful analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne (one more precursor to Kafka, created by Kafka! - according to Borges) in this book. I was not aware that Hawthorne's ancestor stood in judgment over the accused at the Salem witch trials, or that Hawthorne spoke against nude sculptures, or that he filled volumes of diaries with details like the movement of a hen or the shadow of a branch (subsequently confounding Henry James!). I remember Hawthorne only through the many short stories I was assigned in grade school. One vivid detail of my Hawthorne reading is a quiet autumn evening sitting in a Sunday school room, sitting under a solemn portrait of Christ and reading 'The Minister's Black Veil'. I can still sense the terror of the story's severity, as well as the oppressive dullness. In his essay, Borges traces the impact of such stories from Hawthorne's initial sketches, often a moral he would build a story on. Borges finds many of Hawthorne's morals contradictory and fanatical, but explains why his fiction remains so moving. The essay somehow brought me back to grade school, under the looming statue of Hawthorne in his hometown, and to the quiet study "where thousands upon thousands of visions have appeared to me in it; and some have become visible to the world."There is an entire universe in everything Borges writes, and a library of references in every paragraph. He's not simply showing off his erudition, he is shouting with glee as each connection becomes visible to him, and following along on his literary adventures is quite the thrill.

  • Elidanora
    2019-05-03 12:01

    Cuando pensaba en Borges lo visualizaba como en las últimas entrevistas, ya viejo con baston y ciego, pero ahora después de este libro me lo imagino en cualquier biblioteca con varios libros enfrente y tomando apunte tras apunte. Con un lenguaje común, sin la utilización de palabras solo vistas en el diccionario, Borges analiza desde la religión, el tiempo, la filosofía, obras de otros autores, etc. . El lenguaje es sencillo pero los artículo no siempre son fáciles de seguir (al menos en mi caso).Estan buenísimos los articulo que nombra MycolorButtons y yo agregaría "La muralla y los libros" "Kafka y sus Precursores" y me quedo con una frase de "Dos libros" sobre semiología ¿o es análisis del discurso?:"Russell propone que las escuelas primarias enseñen el arte de leer con incredulidad los periódicos" --"las personas se dejan embaucar... piensan que un hecho ha acontecido porque está escrito en grandes letras negras"

  • Arturo
    2019-04-25 07:22

    Aunque no encontré aquí la descripción en español de está obra, editada por EMECÉ Editores, 1960, ArgentinaSerie de ensayos tremendamente borgianos, aunque parezca perogrullo, donde el amor y esa fijación sobre el papel impreso que está siempre en Borges nos regala un paseo cultísimo para conocer sus ideas sobre grandes escritores y sobre la palabra escrita que en él todo lo define.Exquisito y deslumbrante.

  • Benito
    2019-05-21 06:11

    Ensayos y pseudoensayos de uno de los pedantes más notables de la literatura universal (alguien, algún día, explicará la vida de Umberto Eco como la de alguien que quiso ser Borges, pero no pudo escribir tan corto -ni tan bien).Una guía precisa para ser un pedante del siglo pasado, lo que hoy en día se me antoja un proyecto sublime.

  • ulli_z
    2019-05-22 09:07

    These essays beautifully show some of the roots of Borges' surreal stories. Borges was an avid reader and extremely well-read, so the connections and conclusions he draws between and from the philosophical edifices of, say, Berkeley and Schopenhauer, or the writings of Kafka etc. are quite illuminating and really open up the horizons of the reader.

  • Lucas Gregorini
    2019-04-27 06:01

    el primer libro que tenes que leer de borges

  • Scott
    2019-04-26 12:29

    The non-fiction equivalent of his excellent short stories.

  • José
    2019-05-13 06:11

    Borges escribe de una manera preciosa. El español más pulcro que he leído jamás.De esta colección de escritos me gustaría destacar "Nueva refutación del tiempo". Me divirtió mucho leerla.

  • Matteo
    2019-05-06 08:10

    A metaphysical fiction written as a collection of essays.

  • Juan José
    2019-05-03 11:03

    Un pequeño libro de ensayos que tiene una enorme belleza de forma. Un libro que despierta la curiosidad y el amor por la literatura pura.

  • Rayo VM
    2019-05-05 08:20

    Volver a leer este libro después de leerlo a mis veintitantos fue redescubrirlo como una completa nueva experiencia, pero a la vez fue recordar porqué Borges es uno de mis favoritos.Inquisición es una palabra a la que la historia y la Iglesia se encargaron de darle la connotación negativa con la que hoy muchos la conocemos. Su significado más básico y de los más nobles es el de "acción y efecto de inquirir", de indagar, de examinar con cuidado. Esta colección de ensayos no deja de fascinar a 63 años de su publicación (algunos de los escritos son aún más antiguos). La mitad de ellos tienen que ver con escritores y sus obras, el resto, personalmente los que más disfruto, son un recorrido de múltiples temas que igual abordan la filosofía, la religión, la ciencia, la metafísica, el lenguaje, el tiempo, los argentinos. Confieso que es un libro que tengo que leer acompañado de un buen diccionario y en ocasiones hasta de Internet, algo que inevitablemente me hace pensar, primero, en cómo le hacían estos grandes literatos hace 60 años para recordar citas y fuentes y, segundo, admirar aún más estos trabajos. Borges murió en 1986 sin un Nobel. Fue uno de los grandes pensadores del siglo XX y su trabajo es un clásico. En palabras de Borges: "Clásico [...] es un libro que las generaciones de los hombres, urgidas por diversas razones, leen con previo fervor y con una misteriosa lealtad".

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-28 09:13

    Being impressed with Borges' erudition is easy (to get all of the literary and historical references here you'd have to have spent the last solid 20 years of your life reading, and widely), and one can't but love a man who quotes unapologetically in French, Latin, and German and to hell with providing a translation. Yet only a handful of the essays contained here truly grabbed me: "The Enigma of Edward Fitzgerald," "About Oscar Wilde," "On the Cult of Books." Most of the essays contained within this book strike me more as drabbles, or jumping-off points - just as things are about to get real, as they say, whoops! End of essay. A worthy read, but one best dipped into at your points of interest rather than waded straight through.

  • Michele Minno
    2019-04-26 08:07

    Borges riesce a distillare per noi delle immagini mentali nate millenni fa. Le immagini con gli anni si sono arricchite, raffinate, e lui sceglie quei pochi particolari che ci fanno sentire di più la loro evoluzione. Sentire, più che capire. Non è interessato a spiegarci le cose, ma a farcela sentire a pelle, a farcele intuire, a darci brandelli di assoluto in elementi particolari che ci lascia lungo il cammino. Non troppi, giusto quelli necessari a farci intuire la bellezza e l'universalità delle immagini mentali concepite nell'incrocio di culture, religioni, epoche diverse. E a farci venir voglia di seguirlo ancora in questo suo personalissimo percorso.

  • Anjan
    2019-04-23 05:23

    This guy writes for a completely different literary audience than mine. His reviews and commentary follow a different form of organization that convey a really erudite coffee shop conversation. I like to think of this book as time traveling into a cafe in Buenos Aires to discuss the issues of the day. In effect, I am reading for the form much more than the substance and in that regard this book presents a different perspective on viewing the world than i am used to. . Borges is great at conveying his particular brand of subjectivity

  • Maria Beltrami
    2019-05-15 07:18

    Una serie di brevi e brevissimi saggi sugli argomenti più svariati, oltre che di lezioni su vari scrittori contemporanei.Il libro è di una erudizione smisurata, e a volta di difficile comprensione per la scelta dell'editore di non tradurre alcune parti (poesie, citazioni), nemmeno sotto forma di note, e questo, per chi non parla spagnolo, è limitante.Alcuni dei saggi sono brucianti, al punto da strappare la risata a causa dell'ironia fustigante che mostrano, altri invece sono lenti e pesanti, come gli ultimi due che riguardano una "Nuova confutazione del tempo". A conti fatti uno di quei libri imprescindibili per una biblioteca colta, ma non una lettura da relax.

  • Procyon Lotor
    2019-05-05 04:10

    Riacquistato per affetto dopo decenni (letto allora in prestito da un amico matto) grazie a chi me lo ha fatto ricordare. Devo ovviamente rileggerlo, ma ricordo certamente che l'Arte � vendere mobili di legno a chi non li vorrebbe nemmeno per bruciarli, dolci a chi preferisce il salato, carne ai vegetariani e libri simili a me. Un segreto: quando volete parlare di libri, fate come Borges, non posate. Passerete diaframmi altrimenti infrangibili.

  • Shaun
    2019-05-18 04:09

    The Flower of Coleridge, The Creation of P.H.Gosse, and The Bianthanatos are crucial essays. The Analytical Language of John Wilkins is the basis of an entire chapter of Weinberger's Everything is Miscellaneous.

  • Giovanni Gregory
    2019-05-08 04:18

    This is how every reader thinks in a civilised world.

  • Ariel Becker
    2019-04-24 09:04

    “La flor de Coleridge” y “El idioma analítico de John Wilkins” quedarán en mi memoria como dos análisis impecables. Como siempre, Borges no me decepciona. Un honor haber leído este libro.

  • Linda
    2019-05-21 11:27

    Very interesting.

  • Rozonda
    2019-05-07 07:06

    Absolutely wonderful book of essays. You end up feeling wiser and richer and completely in love with Borges' erudition.