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Old 04-20-2016   #1
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El Aleph

I stumbled upon a copy of this story a couple of days ago and have been reading it before I go to sleep the last couple of days.

I must admit that I was not very familiar with him until I read his "The Book of Sand". I find his admiration for anglo-saxon literature refreshing, taken into account that he is Argentinean and he mixes the South-American style writing with a certain English stoicism. I like that.

The Aleph's prose is convoluted at times, although my Spanish might be a bit rusty as well. However, Borges makes to sure to get the spirit of the time correct by referring to Roman concepts of barbarism. His description of the desert and the freshness of the mediterranean dusk makes you want to drink wine and eat olives. More things intrigue me however. Is the story about hopelessness in the face of eternal recurrence? Does the protagonist realize the futility of immortality and the degeneration of man as he trascends towards something he was not supposed to be? Does he mean that in God's eyes we are one of many aeon forgotten accidents?

"I myself have never seen the Red Tower - no one ever has, and possibly no one ever will. And yet wherever I go people are talking about it. In one way or another they are talking about the nightmarish novelty items or about the mysterious and revolting hyper-organisms, as well as babbling endlessly about the subterranean system of tunnels and the secluded graveyard whose headstones display no names and no dates designating either birth or death"

Thomas Ligotti-The Red Tower
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Old 04-20-2016   #2
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Re: El Aleph

Mr. Plores, are you refering to "The Immortal," as the title is translared in English? "The Aleph" I'm familiar with is a very different story than the one you describe.
In any case, I love Borges. The more you read him, the more you'll appreciate his vision.
Only Durrenmatt can compare!
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Old 04-20-2016   #3
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Re: El Aleph

For Borges, the concept of immortality was a terrifying one. He joked that he feared he might discover he was the first Immortal. He loved Schopenhauer and his personal philosophy was a kind of fatalism, somewhat akin to Lovecraft's Indifference.
If you ever get a chance, read Durrenmatt's "The Brain." It's in Selected Essays Vol. 3, and, like Borges' stories, stretches the definition of what fiction could be...
Despite the title, Durrenmatt's 'essays' contain several stories like the grim and horrific SF novella "The Winter War in Tibet" and the brilliant nightmare "Vinter."
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Old 04-21-2016   #4
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Re: El Aleph

Quote
I find his admiration for anglo-saxon literature refreshing, taken into account that he is Argentinean and he mixes the South-American style writing with a certain English stoicism. I like that
Borges had almost no "South American style" aspects to his writing; and he is far and away the most Eurocentric of all Argentinian writers. This was deliberate. It's why Gabriel Garcia Marquez disliked his prose despite acknowledging its supreme quality.

"Nothing can be known, not even this." - Carneades
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Old 04-27-2016   #5
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Re: El Aleph

I see now that I was confused. The entire collection I found was called "The Aleph". The story I mistakenly called "The Aleph" was "The Immortal". Rysaurus, would you mind explaining a bit more about that criticism Borges got from Marquez?

"I myself have never seen the Red Tower - no one ever has, and possibly no one ever will. And yet wherever I go people are talking about it. In one way or another they are talking about the nightmarish novelty items or about the mysterious and revolting hyper-organisms, as well as babbling endlessly about the subterranean system of tunnels and the secluded graveyard whose headstones display no names and no dates designating either birth or death"

Thomas Ligotti-The Red Tower
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