This week’s piece of weird fiction being discussed by the Deep Ones over at LibraryThing.
Review: “The Aleph”, Jorge Luis Borges, trans. Andrew Hurley, 1945.
As you would expect from Borges, this story is chockfull of literary allusions.
The narrator, in fact, is called Borges, and the story starts out by noting the death of one Beatriz Viterbo on April 30, 1929.
She was a romantic obsession of Borges. To get closer to her memory and the places imbued with that memory, Borges develops the ritual of visiting her first cousin Carlos Argentino every year on the anniversary of her death.
The visits get longer until, during one, Carlos confides that he’s been working on a massive work of poetry. It’s pretty awful – we get quotes, but it’s certainly ambitious in attempting to accurately describe, in correct poetic form, the geography of Earth.
Argentino expounds on why each line is so clever in its literary allusions, poetic form, and violations of reader expectation. He seems to be the sort of writer who imagines the literary praise critics will heap on each line of his work. Borges considers it about the dullest thing he’s read, and it’s not improved by Argentino elaborating his style with ever more varied adjectives (like different words for “blue”).Continue reading