Cover of: L'Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges
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Last edited by Lisa
April 2, 2021 | History
An edition of El Aleph (1949)

L'Aleph

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This edition was published in by Gallimard

Written in French / français

218 pages

In Borges' story, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping, or confusion. The story traces the theme of infinity found in several of Borges' other works, such as "The Book of Sand". As in many of Borges' short stories, the protagonist is a fictionalized version of the author. At the beginning of the story, he is mourning the recent death of a woman whom he loved, named Beatriz Viterbo, and resolves to stop by the house of her family to pay his respects. Over time, he comes to know her first cousin, Carlos Argentino Daneri, a mediocre poet with a vastly exaggerated view of his own talent who has made it his lifelong quest to write an epic poem that describes every single location on the planet in excruciatingly fine detail. Later in the story, a business on the same street attempts to tear down Daneri's house in the course of its expansion. Daneri becomes enraged, explaining to the narrator that he must keep the house in order to finish his poem, because the cellar contains an Aleph which he is using to write the poem. Though by now he believes Daneri to be quite insane, the narrator proposes without waiting for an answer to come to the house and see the Aleph for himself. Left alone in the darkness of the cellar, the narrator begins to fear that Daneri is conspiring to kill him, and then he sees the Aleph for himself: "On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand..." Though staggered by the experience of seeing the Aleph, the narrator pretends to have seen nothing in order to get revenge on Daneri, whom he dislikes, by giving Daneri a reason to doubt his own sanity. The narrator tells Daneri that he has lived too long amongst the noise and bustle of the city and spent too much time in the dark and enclosed space of his cellar, and assures him that what he truly needs are the wide open spaces and fresh air of the countryside, and these will provide him the true peace of mind that he needs to complete his poem. He then takes his leave of Daneri and exits the house. In a postscript to the story, Borges explains that Daneri's house was ultimately demolished, but that Daneri himself won second place for the Argentine National Prize for Literature. He also states his belief that the Aleph in Daneri's house was not the only one that exists, based on a report he has discovered, written by "Captain Burton" (Richard Francis Burton) when he was British consul in Brazil, describing the Mosque of Amr in Cairo, within which there is said to be a stone pillar that contains the entire universe; although this Aleph cannot be seen, it is said that those who put their ear to the pillar can hear a continuous hum that symbolises all the concurrent noises of the universe heard at any given time. - Wikipedia.

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Previews available in: Spanish / español

Edition Availability
Cover of: O Aleph (Portuguese Edition)
O Aleph (Portuguese Edition)
Apr 12, 2013, Quetzal Editores
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
2012, Vintage Español
in Spanish / español - Primera edición Vintage Español.
Cover of: El Aleph (Spanish Edition)
El Aleph (Spanish Edition)
Mar 01, 2011, Debolsillo
paperback
Cover of: ALEPH, L
ALEPH, L
Aug 21, 2008, FELTRINELLI
perfect paperback
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
2008, Alianza Editorial
Rústica in Spanish / español - Decimocuarta reimpresión: 2008.
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
September 2007, Emece Editores
Paperback in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
October 2006, Alianza (Buenos Aires, AR)
Paperback in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
March 2002, Emece Editores
Paperback in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
2001, Emece Editores
Paperback
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
May 2001, Galaxia Gutenberg
Paperback in Spanish / español
Cover of: The Aleph
The Aleph
Sept. 7 2000, Penguin Modern Publisher
Cover of: The Aleph
The Aleph
September 7, 2000, Penguin Books Ltd
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
January 2000, Continental Book Company
Paperback
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
Jul 21, 1999, El Mundo
paperback
Cover of: Aleph, El (Biblioteca 30 aniversario)
Aleph, El (Biblioteca 30 aniversario)
August 1999, Alianza
Paperback in Spanish / español
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
1999, Galaxia Gutenberg, Círculo de Lectores
in Spanish / español
Cover of: L' aleph
L' aleph
1998, Aldelphi
in Italian
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1997, Alianza
in Spanish / español - 1. ed., rev. en "Biblioteca de autor."
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
November 1, 1997, French & European Pubns
Paperback in English
Cover of: El aleph.
El aleph.
1995, Emecé
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1994, Alianza, Emecé
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
December 1991, French & European Publications Inc
Paperback in Spanish / español
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
1989, Alianza Editorial
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
1989, Alianza, Emecé
in Spanish / español
Cover of: De Aleph
De Aleph: En andere verhalen
1986, De Bezige Bij
Paperback in Dutch
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
1984, Editorial Ercilla
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
December 1982, French & European Pubns
Hardcover in English
Cover of: L'Aleph
L'Aleph
November 25, 1977, Gallimard
Paperback in French / français
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1977, Alianza, Emecé
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1974, Alianza Editorial, Emecé Editores
Paperback in Spanish / español - Tercera edición
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1971, Alianza, Emec e
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1971, Alianza Editorial
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1970, Emecé
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph: relatos
1969, Editorial Planeta
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1968, Emecé
in Spanish / español
Cover of: L'A leph.
L'A leph.
1967, Gallimard
in English
Cover of: L' Aleph.
L' Aleph.
1967, Gallimard
in French / français
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1967, Emecé
in Spanish / español - [7. ed.]
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1965, Emecé
in Spanish / español - [5. ed.]
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1963, Emecé Editores
in Spanish / español - 4a. ed.
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1962, Emecé Editores
in Spanish / español - 3. ed.
Cover of: L' Aleph
L' Aleph
1961, Feltrinelli
in Italian
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1957, Emecé Editores
in Spanish / español - 1. ed.
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1957, Emecé Edit.
in Spanish / español
Cover of: Labyrinthes
Labyrinthes
1953, Gallimard
in French / français
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1952, Losada
in Spanish / español - 2. Ed.
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1949, Editorial Losada
in Spanish / español
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
Publisher unknown
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
Publish date unknown, Editorial Losada
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
Publish date unknown, Galaxia Gutenberg : Câirculo de Lectores
Unknown Binding

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El Aleph

First published in 1949



Work Description

In Borges' story, the Aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping, or confusion. The story traces the theme of infinity found in several of Borges' other works, such as "The Book of Sand". As in many of Borges' short stories, the protagonist is a fictionalized version of the author. At the beginning of the story, he is mourning the recent death of a woman whom he loved, named Beatriz Viterbo, and resolves to stop by the house of her family to pay his respects. Over time, he comes to know her first cousin, Carlos Argentino Daneri, a mediocre poet with a vastly exaggerated view of his own talent who has made it his lifelong quest to write an epic poem that describes every single location on the planet in excruciatingly fine detail. Later in the story, a business on the same street attempts to tear down Daneri's house in the course of its expansion. Daneri becomes enraged, explaining to the narrator that he must keep the house in order to finish his poem, because the cellar contains an Aleph which he is using to write the poem. Though by now he believes Daneri to be quite insane, the narrator proposes without waiting for an answer to come to the house and see the Aleph for himself. Left alone in the darkness of the cellar, the narrator begins to fear that Daneri is conspiring to kill him, and then he sees the Aleph for himself: "On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand..." Though staggered by the experience of seeing the Aleph, the narrator pretends to have seen nothing in order to get revenge on Daneri, whom he dislikes, by giving Daneri a reason to doubt his own sanity. The narrator tells Daneri that he has lived too long amongst the noise and bustle of the city and spent too much time in the dark and enclosed space of his cellar, and assures him that what he truly needs are the wide open spaces and fresh air of the countryside, and these will provide him the true peace of mind that he needs to complete his poem. He then takes his leave of Daneri and exits the house. In a postscript to the story, Borges explains that Daneri's house was ultimately demolished, but that Daneri himself won second place for the Argentine National Prize for Literature. He also states his belief that the Aleph in Daneri's house was not the only one that exists, based on a report he has discovered, written by "Captain Burton" (Richard Francis Burton) when he was British consul in Brazil, describing the Mosque of Amr in Cairo, within which there is said to be a stone pillar that contains the entire universe; although this Aleph cannot be seen, it is said that those who put their ear to the pillar can hear a continuous hum that symbolises all the concurrent noises of the universe heard at any given time. - Wikipedia.

L'Aleph

This edition was published in by Gallimard


The Physical Object

Format
Paperback
Number of pages
218
Dimensions
7.2 x 5 x 0.6 inches
Weight
9.1 ounces

ID Numbers

Open Library
OL8837308M
ISBN 10
2070296660
ISBN 13
9782070296668
Library Thing
6743207
Goodreads
413077

Lists containing this Book

History

Download catalog record: RDF / JSON / OPDS | Wikipedia citation
April 2, 2021 Edited by Lisa Merge works
August 10, 2010 Edited by IdentifierBot added LibraryThing ID
April 24, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Fixed duplicate goodreads IDs.
April 16, 2010 Edited by bgimpertBot Added goodreads ID.
April 30, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Imported from amazon.com record.