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Last edited by Bryan Tyson
January 3, 2019 | History

El Aleph 31 editions

Cover of: El Aleph | Jorge Luis Borges
About the Book

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.

31 editions First published in 1949

Edition Read Locate Buy
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
October 2006, Alianza (Buenos Aires, AR)
Paperback in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
March 2002, Emece Editores
Paperback in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
May 2001, Galaxia Gutenberg
Paperback in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
2001, Emece Editores
Paperback
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
January 2000, Continental Book Company
Paperback
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
1999, Galaxia Gutenberg, Círculo de Lectores
in Spanish
Cover of: L' aleph
L' aleph
1998, Aldelphi
in Italian
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
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1994, Alianza, Emecé
in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
December 1991, French & European Publications Inc
Paperback in Spanish
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
1989, Alianza, Emecé
in Spanish
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
1984, Editorial Ercilla
in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
December 1982, French & European Pubns
Hardcover in English
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1977, Alianza, Emecé
in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1974, Alianza Editorial, Emecé Editores
Paperback in Spanish - Tercera edición
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1971, Alianza Editorial
in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1970, Emecé
in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph: relatos
1969, Editorial Planeta
in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1968, Emecé
in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1967, Emecé
in Spanish - [7. ed.]
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1965, Emecé
in Spanish - [5. ed.]
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1963, Emecé Editores
in Spanish - 4a. ed.
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1962, Emecé Editores
in Spanish - 3. ed.
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1957, Emecé Edit.
in Spanish
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
1957, Emecé Editores
in Spanish - 1. ed.
Cover of: Labyrinthes
Labyrinthes
1953, Gallimard
in French
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1952, Losada
in Spanish - 2. Ed.
Cover of: El Aleph.
El Aleph.
1949, Editorial Losada
in Spanish
Cover of: El aleph
El aleph
Publish date unknown, Galaxia Gutenberg : Câirculo de Lectores
Unknown Binding
Cover of: El Aleph
El Aleph
Publish date unknown, Editorial Losada

History

Download catalog record: RDF / JSON
January 3, 2019 Edited by Bryan Tyson Edited without comment.
November 23, 2012 Edited by Anand Chitipothu Reverted spam
November 21, 2012 Edited by 188.190.125.67 Edited without comment.
December 4, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Added subjects from MARC records.
October 17, 2009 Created by WorkBot add works page