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Seven Nights by Jorge Luis Borges
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Seven Nights (1980)

by Jorge Luis Borges

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» See also 13 mentions

English (5)  Spanish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
Emerson said that a library is a magic chamber in which there are many enchanted spirits. They wake when we call them. When the book lies unopened, it is literally, geometrically, a volume, a thing among things. When we open it, when the book surrenders itself to its reader, the aesthetic event occurs. And even for the same reader the same book changes, for the change; we are the river of Heraclitus, who said that the man of yesterday is not the man of today, who will not be the man of tomorrow. We change incessantly, and each reading of a book, each rereading, each memory of that rereading, reinvents the text.

This is a series of seven lectures Borges delivered in the late 70s, relying on his capacious memory as his eyesight had departed by this time. The final lecture on Blindness explores this dynamic, citing Oscar Wilde's assertion that Homer had to be mythologized as a blind poet to present poetry as an aural art.

There are sidelong digressions on The Arabian Nights, on Dante. Etymology is explored. It is a telling endorsement of Borges that I was transfixed by his pontificating on Buddhism, a subject I can't imagine contemplating otherwise. The Maestro recognizes human failing without wasting time to illustrate such. His remark that being blind afforded him the opportunity to explore medieval literature, especially Old English and the Scandinavian Ruins. This revelation is most profound. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
A set of seminar addresses by Borges, collected and published. Smart and well versed man, topics of varying interest to me. Read early 2013. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Apr 10, 2013 |
When a learned person composes and gives a lecture, the audience understands here before us stands a learned person. Whether this is enjoyable or not, we generally know when someone learned speaks.

When a devoted reader composes and gives a lecture, the audience senses the passion for reading, for language, for books, and is buoyed by the sensations. Our minds fondly drift toward favorites we wish to read again.

When someone practiced in the art of conversation speaks, the play in language, with language, is marked by a pronounced generosity perhaps unique to conversation. We know this generosity even if we cannot plot it nor capture it photographically, nor record the limits of it in a brief exposition. For the one who converses well differs greatly from the one who communicates well. Would that we knew more conversationalists than communicators.

And when a learned reader practiced in the arts of language converses with you for seven nights, well, what pleasure. Even more so, if you have spent those seven nights with Borges. ( )
  SheWoreRedShoes | May 10, 2010 |
This was good. It's seven lectures that Borges gave in seven nights in Buenos Aires in 1977 (that's a lot of sevens). But it felt more like it was me an Borges sitting in a small room across from each other. He started talking to me about The Divine Comedy: Inferno; Purgatorio; Paradiso and urged me to shed my fears and read the book. He said I would greatly be enriched. So I told him ok, I will. I was a still a bit intimidated by his presence and at that point would have stuck my hand in boiling water if he told me to. Then he started talking about nightmares and I started to loosen up a bit. This guy had some pretty crazy nightmares and it turns out that one of his friends and me shared a certain kind of nightmare... dreams that try to encompass infinity. I wanted to ask questions but he continued on by talking about the book Tales from a Thousand and One Nights and my mouth just hung open. He said he had the complete volumes but would never get to read all of them. Just knowing they were there gave him comfort. And then he went on to Buddhism and my world started spinning. He made me question too many of my foundations... I wanted to scream but he was relentless never giving me a chance to take a breath. This topic more than any he shared with me that night haunted me. Luckily he switched over to the topic of Poetry and I started to relax a little. And then it was on to the Kabbalah and I had to stifle a yawn. It was getting late. I was tired. And I couldn't get Madonna's vision out of my head. But when he told me he was going to wrap up this little talk by discussing Blindness, I perked up. I sat there looking at this old kindly man. I was probably just a greenish or bluish blob in his eyes but I'm sure he noticed that this blob didn't move. He spoke of blindness as being a gift. He said it taught him so much. He ended our time together with a line of Goethe: Alles Nahe werde fern (everything near becomes distant). 'Goethe', he said, 'was referring to the evening twilight. Everything near becomes distant. It is true. At nightfall, the things closest to us seem to move away from our eyes. So the visible world has moved away from my eyes, perhaps forever.'

An excellent book. ( )
11 vote Banoo | Apr 19, 2009 |
Borges as Coleridge loved to talk. Many times met at Bioy Casares home with other writers and intellectuals and to share - and listen - many ideas and stories. This love for the spoken word appears in his lectures as is shown in this book.

In seven nights, he addresses an audience with something more personal than what may appear - as Coleridge did - poetry, Dante's Divine Comedy, metaphors, Arabian nights, are some of the themes that he appreciated most of his life and of he spoke on those nights.

For any Borges reader or any person which desires to understand what is poetry or to have a glimpse of the mind of one of the best writers of the twentieth century, this is an excellent work. ( )
  horaciocorral | Oct 10, 2007 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jorge Luis Borgesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bartholomew, RoyAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dresmé, NicoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pol, Barber van deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reid, AlastairIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weinberger, EliotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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폴 클로델은 어느 글에서 우리가 죽은 후에 우리를 기다리고 있는 광경은 의심할 나위 없이 단테가 지옥, 연옥, 천국에서 보여주는 것과는 전혀 다를 것이라고 적고 있습니다.
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Book description
This is a book of essays containing an introduction by Alastair Reid, and the following Borges essays

| The Divine Comedy
| Nightmares
| The Thousand and One Nights
| Buddhism
| Poetry
| The Kabbalah
| Blindness
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The seven lectures which make up this volume were delivered by Borges in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Coliseo, at intervals between June and August 1977. In an Epilogue to the first Spanish edition of the book, published in Mexico in 1980, Roy Bartholomew tells how the lectures were widely taped, appeared later as pirated records, and were widely in a cut and mangled form, in the literary supplement of a Buenos Aires newspaper.… (more)

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