The Aleph and Other Stories
Jorge Luis Borges.
New York: Dutton, 1970. Octavo. Blue cloth boards in an unclipped green pictorial dust wrapper, cased in mylar. Slight foxing on the fore-edge. 286 pages. First American edition. Near fine.
1933-1969. Rather than thinking of it as as a great work by the master, the title story, "The Aleph," is better approached as his great revelation. The story leads all of its serious readers to the question of questions: is the Aleph real? And if so, did Borges really lay eyes on it? As a blind man and an artist, would it have been necessary for him to lay eyes on it? And if there wasn't an Aleph in that basement, was Borges trying to will one into existence, believing that "man is the animal that makes pictures of himself and then comes to resemble those pictures," as Iris Murdoch once put it. In terms of content, this title is among the finest and most enigmatic works in existence, and in terms of visual appeal, the American first isn't hard on the eye either. Visionary occult confession disguised as fiction.
"Does this Aleph exist in the heart of a stone? Did I see it there in the cellar when I saw all things, and have I now forgotten it? Our minds are porous and forgetfulness seeps in; I myself am distorting and losing, under the wearing away of the years, the face of Beatriz."