The Book of Imaginary Beings (Classics Deluxe Edition): (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

The Book of Imaginary Beings (Classics Deluxe Edition): (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

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by Jorge Luis Borges, Peter Sís
     
 

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In a perfect pairing of talent, this volume blends twenty illustrations by Peter S's with Jorge Luis Borges's 1957 compilation of 116 "strange creatures conceived through time and space by the human imagination," from dragons and centaurs to Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat and the Morlocks of H. G. Wells's The Time Machine. A lavish feast of exotica brought

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Overview

In a perfect pairing of talent, this volume blends twenty illustrations by Peter S's with Jorge Luis Borges's 1957 compilation of 116 "strange creatures conceived through time and space by the human imagination," from dragons and centaurs to Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat and the Morlocks of H. G. Wells's The Time Machine. A lavish feast of exotica brought vividly to life with art commissioned specifically for this volume, The Book of Imaginary Beings will delight readers of classic fantasy as well as Borges's many admirers.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Of all the Latin American authors in this century, [Borges] is the most universal. (Harold Bloom)
Jorge Luis Borges' Manual de zoología fantástica was published in 1957, but 12 years passed before this whimsical compendium, now greatly expanded, first appeared in English translation. The cause of the long interval is not difficult to discern: It took time to acclimate English-language audiences to Borges's esoteric, magical sensibility. This rendering by Andrew Hurley presents the Argentinean writer's imaginary beasts, dragons, centaurs, and unicorns in fresh surrounds. Original drawings by famed illustrator Peter Sís add new dimensions to these unique creatures.
Michael Dirda
Each is a page or two long and focuses either on a single beast like the behemoth or the chimra or summarizes our basic knowledge of, say, banshees, sylphs and satyrs. Throughout this new translation, the tone is that of a learned scholar writing with just the hint of a smile. (No one, Borges tells us, still believes in sylphs, but "romantic poetry and the ballet find them useful.") The result is both erudite and whimsical, a model handbook of fantastic zoology.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The master, writing with sometime collaborator Guerrero, compiled 82 one- and two-page descriptions of everything from "The Borametz" (a Chinese "plant shaped like a lamb, covered with golden fleece") to "The Simurgh" ("an immortal bird that makes its nest in the tree of science") and "The Zaratan" (a particularly cunning whale) in An Anthology of Fantastic Zoology in 1954. He added 34 more (and illustrations) for a 1967 edition, giving it the present title, and it was published in English in 1969. This edition, with fresh translations from Borges's Collected Fictions translator Hurley, and new illustrations from Caldecott-winner S s, gives the beings new life. They prove the perfect foils for classic Borgesian musings on everything from biblical etymology to the underworld, giving the creatures particularly (and, via S s, whimsically) vivid and perfectly scaled shape. "We do not know what the dragon means, just as we do not know the meaning of the universe," Borges (1899-1986) and Guerrero write in a preface, and the genius of this book is that it seems to easily contain the latter within it. (On sale Nov. 7) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A new translation of Borges's compendium of fantastical creatures familiar from Homer, Shakespeare, Kafka-and Harry Potter. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143039938
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/26/2006
Series:
Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition Series
Edition description:
Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
172,325
Product dimensions:
8.34(w) x 10.92(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Of all the Latin American authors in this century, [Borges] is the most universal. (Harold Bloom)

Meet the Author

Jorges Luis Borges was born in Buenos Aires in 1899 and educated in Europe. One of the most widely acclaimed writers of our time, he published many collections of poems, essays and short stories, before his death in Geneva in June 1986. In 1961 Borges shared the International Publishers' Prize with Samuel Beckett. The Ingram Merrill Foundation granted him its Annual Literary Award in 1966 for his "outstanding contribution to literature." In 1971 Columbia University awarded him the first of many degrees of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa that he was to receive from the English-speaking world. In 1971 he received the fifth biennial Jerusalem Prize and in 1973 was given the Alfonso Reyes Prize, one of Mexico's most prestigious cultural awards. In 1980 he shared the Cervantes Prize (the Spanish world's highest literary accolade) with Gerardo Diego. Borges was Director of the Argentine National Library from 1955 until 1973. In a tribute to Borges, Mario Vargas Llosa wrote: "His is a world of clear, pure, and at the same time unusual ideas...expressed in words of great directness and restraint. [He] was a superb storyteller. One reads most of Borges' tales with the hypnotic interest usually reserved for reading detective fiction..."

Andrew Hurley is a translator of numerous works of literature, criticism, history, and memoir. He is professor emeritus at the University of Puerto Rico.

Peter S's has received five New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year awards, a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal, and a Caldecott Honor. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2003.

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Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
August 24, 1899
Date of Death:
June 14, 1986
Place of Birth:
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Place of Death:
Geneva, Switzerland
Education:
B.A., Collège Calvin de Genève, 1914

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The Book of Imaginary Beings 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grew up with this book in my mothers collection, She had bought it in a sale from a local library long before i was born. And it was always a favorite referance book of mine. Growing up in the midst of the Harry Potter mania i found a good understanding of mythical animals and their sources to be a good thing. But dont let me mislead you this is by no means a childrens book. I will most likely break down a buy a copy of my own someday and would recomend this as an addition to any collection if you are a fan of mythology and magic.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book OK. I was expecting a guide for everyday mythical creatures. This wasn't what I expected but still. If you're looking for creatures in different religions well then I bet you would like it. I did learn from it though. I recommend this to the most serious mythologists. Is that a word?