Thursday, July 22, 2010
Too often, Borges is viewed as this mystical genius. Although there is much truth to this title, there is the connotation that his works are too distant and "tough" for the "average" reader to comprehend. I always like to hold this amusing collection out as an example that much of Borges' writings were intended for those readers who like to let their imaginations roam free, unhindered by cumbersome elegance that detracts from their ability to enjoy a simple tale.
Most of the entries that appear here (for a better summation, including links to the creatures described, click on this Facebook fan page) are from other stories and legends. Borges describes them in a matter-of-fact, casual fashion. After all, haven't you seen a Baldanders or Behemoth roaming the streets of your hometown recently? It is this combination of seeing these creatures (and I believe in the edition that I ordered, the 1970 American one, there should be illustrations; there are none in the most recent Argentine edition that I currently own) and reading short passages about them that somehow manages to bring a smile to my face. There is little to be said in way of analysis; Borges was just merely "reporting the facts, ma'am" here, with only a few entries that could be said to be wholecloth inventions. The Book of Imaginary Beings is simply Borges at play and his play is a beautiful thing to behold.