Author: Jorge Luis Borges
Publisher: Alianza Editorial Sa
Genre: Short Stories
"The Aleph" is the title given to a collection of short stories written by J.L.Borges, one of the most prominent Latin American writers who, contrary to his contemporaries, was mainly concerned with the eternal questions of existence, leaving political and social issues aside. An elusive personality, a solitary intellect, Borges addressed the selective ones and not the masses. With a succinct, sometimes laconic style, in an ironic and nihilist attitude, he deals with philosophical questions, history, time, personal identity, human ethics, and the mystical experience of the Oneness. Most known for his poetry, Borges also wrote essays and short stories. His short stories can be viewed as essays, or essays which have turned into fiction.
Borges had a metaphysical perspective of reality and his fictional universe is immersed in esoteric concepts and theological speculations on Gnoticism and Cabala. (The Aleph -- first letter of the Hebrew alphabet -- is considered by the Cabalists as the mystical letter through which it is possible to see the whole universe) Borges incorporates this concept in his obsession to find the ultimate elixir of life. For him life's purpose has no meaning, what is important is the ethical and intellectual instinct; reality is seen as ideas which only persist while they are perceived, time has no beginning and is not infinite. In this unconceivable world, the self must be extinguished in order to achieve revelation.
To understand Borges requires rereading and interpretation, it requires an internalization of his philosophical perspectives which paradoxically means the impossibility of understanding. Borges draws literature into the world of quantum reality!