Tuesday, May 15, 2018

One Borges sentence

Down in the cellar, there’s “a small iridescent sphere,” “two or three centimeters in diameter,” the Aleph. Looking into it, one sees everything:

Jorge Luis Borges, “The Aleph,” in Collected Fictions, trans. Andrew Hurley (New York: Penguin, 1998).

Borges was one of the first writers I discovered on my own, all the way back in high school. I am immensely happy to have now read the Collected Fictions.

Related posts
Borges manuscript found : Borges on reading

[Idle speculation: might this catalogue of things seen have influenced Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”? I’m not the first reader to see a resemblance.]

comments: 4

Chris said...

The similarity in technique is uncanny, but as far as I can tell the story was first translated into English after Dylan recorded the song, and as far as I know Dylan doesn't read Spanish. A mutual affinity for Whitman (whom Borges, perhaps surprisingly, admired) may be involved.

The whole subject of Borges in English is messy, however, with multiple versions, charges of breach of contract etc.

Michael Leddy said...

I would have sworn that “The Aleph” is in the old New Directions Labyrinths, but I just looked, and of course it’s not there.

But I did find folded between pages of this book a partial typescript of what appears to be a poem, beginning “Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley.” The first page of the typescript is missing. :)

Chris said...

I don't know, Michael, you might want to try another copy of Labyrinths. Strange things can happen.

Michael Leddy said...

The Babel Township Library should have a copy. I’ll check.