HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

In Praise of Darkness by Jorge Luis Borges
Loading...

In Praise of Darkness (original 1969; edition 1974)

by Jorge Luis Borges

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1453122,686 (4.27)3
Member:napoleon-in-rags
Title:In Praise of Darkness
Authors:Jorge Luis Borges
Info:E.P. Dutton (1974), Edition: F First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:To read
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

In Praise of Darkness by Jorge Luis Borges (1969)

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 3 mentions

Showing 3 of 3



This collection includes poems and short tales from the modern master of the fantastic, Argentina's Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) at a time in his life after he completely lost his sight. Below are my comments along with quotes from the tales. I read this book translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni years ago, however my quotes are from the translation by Andrew Hurley, which is available online via the following link: https://www.google.com/#q=borges brodie's report full text

THE ETHNOGRAPHER
In order to advance the study of anthropology, a student is sent out West to live with a tribe of Native Americans. After undergoing certain proscribed trials and tribulations, he earns the right to receive transmission of the tribe’s secret doctrine but when he returns to his professor at university, he refuses to divulge a word about the tribe’s doctrine, explaining the path to the doctrine is a critical first step in understanding.

PEDRO SALVADORES
As a way of hiding himself from a dictator’s torture and execution, Pedro Salvadores remains hidden in total darkness in his cellar for nine years. Borges writes: “I suspect that in the darkness that his eyes learned to fathom, he came not to think of anything – not even his hatred or his anger.” Reflecting on Pedro Salvadores and his years of darkness in that cellar I also think of how this tale was written by a blind Jorge Luis Bores. How would our experience of life be altered if we were forced by circumstances to live years in darkness, either the darkness of a subterranean cavern or due to our loss of sight?

LEGEND
Cain and Able encounter each other after the death of Able. Cain asks Able to forgive him.
Borges writes: “Was it you that killed me; or did I kill you?” Able answered. “I don’t remember anymore; here we are together, like before.”
“Now I know that you have truly forgiven me,” Cain said, “because forgetting is forgiving. I, too, will try to forget.”
“Yes,” said Abel slowly. “So long as remorse lasts, guilt lasts.”

A PRAYER
As part of this tale, we read such a telling statement from Borges as author, a man whose very life revolved around reading books and is now blind, unable to read: “Asking that my eyes not be filled with night would be madness; I know of thousands of people who can see, yet who are not particularly happy, just, or wise."

HIS END AND HIS BEGINNING
Here is the second half of this Borges jewel, a most philosophic tale about a man gone blind and facing death, quoted in full, followed by a number of questions I ask myself after reading:

“That night the nightmares began, he was left without the slightest memory of them – just the fear that they’d return. In time, that fear prevailed; it came between him and the page he was supposed to write, the books he tried to read. Letters would crawl about on the page like ants; faces, familiar faces, gradually blurred and faded, objects and people slowly abandoned him. His mind seized upon those changing shapes in a frenzy of tenacity.

However odd it may seem, he never suspected the truth; it was burst upon him suddenly. He realized that he was unable to remember the shapes, sounds, and colors of his dreams, there were no shapes, colors or sounds, nor were the dreams dreams. They were his reality, a reality beyond silence and sight, and therefore beyond memory. The realization threw him into even greater consternation than the fact that from the hour of his death he had been struggling in a whirlwind of senseless images. The voices he’d heard had been echoes; the faces he’d seen had been masks; the fingers of his hands had been shadows – vague and insubstantial, true, yet also dear to him, and familiar.

Somehow he sensed that it was his duty to leave all these things behind; now he belonged to this new world, removed from past, present, and future. Little by little this new world surrounded him. He suffered many agonies, journeyed through realms of desperation and loneliness – appalling peregrinations, for they transcended all his previous perceptions, memories, and hopes. All horror lay in their newness and their splendor. He had deserved grace – he had earned it; every second since the moment of his death, he had been in heaven.”

• How will memory influence our advanced aging and our own death and dying? Is dealing with our fears the key? Or, stated another way, without fear, do memories lose their grip on us?

• If our familiar boundaries begin to blur and fade, will we be able to let go and face this dissolution with an abiding sense of peace?

• What does it mean to lose memory, particularly in a world without sight, a world gone dark?

• How willing are we to face a completely new world of experience? Are there any aspects of our current earthly life we would like to continue without end? If so, how are those aspects connected with our sense of sight?

• The narrator claims the man in this tale has been in heaven. Since he has been soaked in dread, fear and trepidation all along, is such a statement ridiculous?
( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |



This collection includes poems and short tales from the modern master of the fantastic, Argentina's Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) at a time in his life after he completely lost his sight. Below are my comments along with quotes from the tales. I read this book translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni years ago, however my quotes are from the translation by Andrew Hurley, which is available online via the following link: https://www.google.com/#q=borges brodie's report full text

THE ETHNOGRAPHER
In order to advance the study of anthropology, a student is sent out West to live with a tribe of Native Americans. After undergoing certain proscribed trials and tribulations, he earns the right to receive transmission of the tribe’s secret doctrine but when he returns to his professor at university, he refuses to divulge a word about the tribe’s doctrine, explaining the path to the doctrine is a critical first step in understanding.

PEDRO SALVADORES
As a way of hiding himself from a dictator’s torture and execution, Pedro Salvadores remains hidden in total darkness in his cellar for nine years. Borges writes: “I suspect that in the darkness that his eyes learned to fathom, he came not to think of anything – not even his hatred or his anger.” Reflecting on Pedro Salvadores and his years of darkness in that cellar I also think of how this tale was written by a blind Jorge Luis Bores. How would our experience of life be altered if we were forced by circumstances to live years in darkness, either the darkness of a subterranean cavern or due to our loss of sight?

LEGEND
Cain and Able encounter each other after the death of Able. Cain asks Able to forgive him.
Borges writes: “Was it you that killed me; or did I kill you?” Able answered. “I don’t remember anymore; here we are together, like before.”
“Now I know that you have truly forgiven me,” Cain said, “because forgetting is forgiving. I, too, will try to forget.”
“Yes,” said Abel slowly. “So long as remorse lasts, guilt lasts.”

A PRAYER
As part of this tale, we read such a telling statement from Borges as author, a man whose very life revolved around reading books and is now blind, unable to read: “Asking that my eyes not be filled with night would be madness; I know of thousands of people who can see, yet who are not particularly happy, just, or wise."

HIS END AND HIS BEGINNING
Here is the second half of this Borges jewel, a most philosophic tale about a man gone blind and facing death, quoted in full, followed by a number of questions I ask myself after reading:

“That night the nightmares began, he was left without the slightest memory of them – just the fear that they’d return. In time, that fear prevailed; it came between him and the page he was supposed to write, the books he tried to read. Letters would crawl about on the page like ants; faces, familiar faces, gradually blurred and faded, objects and people slowly abandoned him. His mind seized upon those changing shapes in a frenzy of tenacity.

However odd it may seem, he never suspected the truth; it was burst upon him suddenly. He realized that he was unable to remember the shapes, sounds, and colors of his dreams, there were no shapes, colors or sounds, nor were the dreams dreams. They were his reality, a reality beyond silence and sight, and therefore beyond memory. The realization threw him into even greater consternation than the fact that from the hour of his death he had been struggling in a whirlwind of senseless images. The voices he’d heard had been echoes; the faces he’d seen had been masks; the fingers of his hands had been shadows – vague and insubstantial, true, yet also dear to him, and familiar.

Somehow he sensed that it was his duty to leave all these things behind; now he belonged to this new world, removed from past, present, and future. Little by little this new world surrounded him. He suffered many agonies, journeyed through realms of desperation and loneliness – appalling peregrinations, for they transcended all his previous perceptions, memories, and hopes. All horror lay in their newness and their splendor. He had deserved grace – he had earned it; every second since the moment of his death, he had been in heaven.”

• How will memory influence our advanced aging and our own death and dying? Is dealing with our fears the key? Or, stated another way, without fear, do memories lose their grip on us?

• If our familiar boundaries begin to blur and fade, will we be able to let go and face this dissolution with an abiding sense of peace?

• What does it mean to lose memory, particularly in a world without sight, a world gone dark?

• How willing are we to face a completely new world of experience? Are there any aspects of our current earthly life we would like to continue without end? If so, how are those aspects connected with our sense of sight?

• The narrator claims the man in this tale has been in heaven. Since he has been soaked in dread, fear and trepidation all along, is such a statement ridiculous?
( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
The Labyrinth
Zeus, Zeus himself could not undo these nets
of stone encircling me. My mind forgets
the person I have been along the way,
the hated way of monotonous walls,
which is my fate. The galleries seem straight
but curve furtively, forming secret circles
at the terminus of years, and the parapets
have been worn smooth by the passage of days.
Here, in the tepid alabaster of dust,
are tracks that frighten me. The hollow air
of evening sometimes brings a bellowing,
or the echo, desolate, of bellowing,
I know that hidden in the shadows there
lurks another, whose task is to exhaust
the lonliness that braids and weaves this hell,
to crave my blood, and to fatten on my death,
We seek each other, Oh, if only this
were the last day of our antithesis!

[ Translated by John Updike] ( )
  Porius | Jun 11, 2009 |
Showing 3 of 3
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jorge Luis Borgesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bossi, FlorianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Di Giovanni, Norman ThomasEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tentori Montalto, FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

No library descriptions found.

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.27)
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5 2
3 3
3.5
4 4
4.5 2
5 11

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 134,208,772 books! | Top bar: Always visible