Dreamtigers has been heralded as one of the literary masterpieces of the twentieth century by Mortimer J. Adler, editor of Great Books of the Western World. It has been acknowledged by its author as his most personal work. Composed of poems, parables, and stories, sketches and apocryphal quotations, Dreamtigers at first glance appears to be a sampler—albeit a dazzling one—of the master's work. Upon closer examination, however, the reader discovers the book to be a subtly and organically unified self-revelation.
Dreamtigers explores the mysterious territory that lies between the dreams of the creative artist and the "real" world. The central vision of the work is that of a recluse in the "enveloping serenity " of a library, looking ahead to the time when he will have disappeared but in the timeless world of his books will continue his dialogue with the immortals of the past — Homer, Don Quixote, Shakespeare. Like Homer, the maker of these dreams is afflicted with failing sight. Still, he dreams of tigers real and imagined and reflects upon of a life that, above all, has been intensely introspective, a life of calm self-possession and absorption in the world of the imagination. At the same time he is keenly aware of that other Borges, the public figure about whom he reads with mixed emotions: "It's the other one, it's Borges, that things happen to."
About the Author
Mildred Boyer is professor emerita of romance languages at the University of Texas at Austin
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
Table of ContentsIntroduction
To Leopoldo Lugones
Dialogue on a Dialogue
The Draped Mirrors
Delia Elena San Marco
Dead Men's Dialogue
A Yellow Rose
Parable of Cervantes and Don Quixote
Paradiso, XXXI, 108
Parable of the Palace
Everything and Nothing
Inferno, I, 32
Borges and I
Poem about Gifts
The Game of Chess
Elvira de Alvear
On the Effigy of a Captain in Cromwell's Armies
To an Old Poet
The Other Tiger
Referring to a Ghost of Eighteen Hundred and Ninety-Odd
Referring to the Death of Colonel Francisco Borges (1835-1874)
In Memoriam: A. R.
To Luis de Camoëns
Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Odd
Ode Composed in 1960
Ariosto and the Arabs
On Beginning the Study of Anglo-Saxon Grammar
On Rigor in Science
The Poet Declares His Renown
The Magnanimous Enemy
The Regret of Heraclitus
Appendix: Some Facts in the Life of Jorge Luis Borges
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Imagine reading a book written in another dimension, attached to life as we know it via string theory, where everything unordinary is extraordinary and ordinary at the same time. He has a gentleness when speaking of the unspeakable invisible most difficult tribulations of individual existence where somehow, everything smells like heaven. Something scientific, spiritual, literary and entirely poetic fills the pages of Borges' work. It's like the wisdom of a shaman, a psychologist (far beyond time), a scientist, and a word master artist all in one. If Borges were alive, I would go lay prostrate at his door.
I read a book while sitting in 24C in a big metal flying tube. A book written by Borges or dreamed by Borges or maybe it was just my dream, a dream about Homer or Shakespeare. It may also have just been symbols that I glanced at that only I could decipher in my own simple way. Could be the symbols were just forgotten memories or the stripes of tigers or falling rain. I dreamed this book. And I dreamed that I saw the face of Borges.'A man sets himself the task of portraying the world. Through the years he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms instruments, stars, horses, and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that that patient labyrinth of lives traces the image of his face.'I touched a face sitting in 24C in a big metal flying tube...
Borges is always said to be immersed in literature, to be a product of literature itself, and he certainly imagines himself that way. But is "literature" the right word for what crowds his imagination? The literature that appears is often in the form of the fantasized lives of prominent authors (Shakespeare's retirement, Cervantes's double). Most of the allusions are to myths, legends, and stories, from the Greeks onward, with a smattering of non-Western sources. These are airy figures, signs of eternity, archetypes, emblems of infinite time and space. They are more like the allusions in Cavafy or than the allusions in, say, Milosz. Borges wasn't swimming in an ocean of literature, but drowning in an ocean of philosophy and myth. It helps to re-imagine Borges without the supposed erudition. If you subtract away the proper names, what remains? Dreams and secret signs of deep time, deep fame, deep cultural oblivion. It is vastly romantic, at times very close to bombast. The strongest pieces in this book are brief stories without any ponderous cultural weight (a spectacular page called "The Captive") and honest reflections on the disproportion between his enormous desire for fame and his withered private self ("Borges and I"). I don't think I'll be returning to Borges anytime soon. The Pessoa of "Do Livro do Desassossego" is far more honest and careful, less easily seduced by fame, and less likely to find solace in celestial fantasies and the supposedly rich loam of deep culture.
[close] This is more than the sum of its parts. It is in fact a meditation on death and how to live in the face of it.It catches you unawares, makes you feel alive. The translations are excellent, although the poetry section is a lttle weaker than the prose as poetry dates much more quickly and I feel now it needs a more contemporary translation. This is the only reason it doesn't get the full five stars from me.
Of the two parts of Jorge Luis Borges--dreamtigers I would prefer the first--more or less made up of prose poems. As I get older I seem to appreciate more and more his somewhat acerbic but penetrating seeing into of things. The precision of his prose seems to always leap logically forward--it is almost inevitable-like in each and every word leading to a conclusion--with never a word more than needed--but still retaining a deep seated mystery into the interior realms of being. I would have preferred that all Dreamtigers was like the first half--not that the more standard kind of poetry (with rhyming and often in the sonnet form) of the second half is bad--a lot of it is very good--it is just my preference for the former. In any case the book overall is both insightful and often even a fun book to read. Apparently if the editors of it are to be believed it was one of Borges' favorites of his own work. Anyway it is well worth the read.