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Seven Nights (1980)
by Jorge Luis Borges
No current Talk conversations about this book.
4.5 stars, which I usually round up to from 4, but this being Borges, I felt he deserved a 10/10 for the reasons explained in my bio. I couldn't help but compare this to Calvino's Six Memos for the Next Millennium, also a collection of talks on literary themes. Though Borges is more casual, almost as if he is speaking to himself, with wandering details and less decisive through-lines. Still, this was full of beautiful thoughts and reading suggestions. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys lyrical musings on literature and language. ( )
4.5 stars, which I usually round up to from 4, but this being Borges, I felt he deserved a 10/10 for the reasons explained in my bio. I couldn't help but compare this to Calvino's Six Memos for the Next Millennium, also a collection of talks on literary themes. Though Borges is more casual, almost as if he is speaking to himself, with wandering details and less decisive through-lines. Still, this was full of beautiful thoughts and reading suggestions. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys lyrical musings on literature and language.
He aquí una serie de conferencias que diera Borges a fines de los años setenta. Ya para ese entonces había perdido la visión (o como el mismo explica, vivía en una especie de eterna nebulosa gris), por lo que se apoya únicamente en su memoria para desarrollar los contenidos propuestos. Y vaya memoria.
Los temas son, por orden de aparición: La Divina Comedia, la pesadilla, Las mil y una noches, el budismo, la poesía, la cábala y, para cerrar, el que ha sido mi favorito personal: la ceguera. En todos ellos se evidencia que la vida de este escritor (o lector, como le gustaba calificarse) fue dedicada en forma total a la literatura; no hay prácticamente momento en que no esté presente la referencia a libros, autores y textos relacionados con los temas en cuestión. Son ensayos eruditos, pero no pretenciosos: más bien, una emanación del auténtico genio borgeano.
Si la ficción de Borges puede resultar complicada, estos ensayos no lo son. Al tratarse de conferencias, el estilo es bastante coloquial y accesible. Tal vez alguna que otra sección no fue de mi total interés (léase, la cábala), pero el temario es tan variado y Jorge Luis lo lleva tan bien, que uno termina "enganchado" en su lectura.
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.
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.
The incomparable Borges delivered these seven lectures in Buenos Aires in 1977; attendees were treated to Borges' erudition on the following topics: Dante'sThe Divine Comedy,Nightmares,Thousand and One Dreams,Buddhism,Poetry,The Kabbalah, andBlindness.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)809Literature By Topic History, description and criticism of more than two literatures
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