The OF Blog: Borges Month: Libro de sueños (1976)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Borges Month: Libro de sueños (1976)

¿Qué es la vida? Un frenesí.
¿Qué es la vida? Una ilusión,
una sombra, una ficción,
y el mayor bien es pequeño:
que toda la vida es sueño,
y los sueños, sueños son.

Dreams.  They are perhaps the greatest mystery for humans.  Every day, billions of people sleep, perchance to dream.  And what dreams come?  Are they dreams that foretell the future?  Dreams that reshape our pasts?  Dreams that make magic out of reality and out of reality nightmares?

In his book Libro de sueños (The Book of Dreams), Jorge Luis Borges collects several of the most famous dream recordings.  Everything from Biblical texts to Greco-Roman myths to Chinese philosophy to works of the past few centuries are fair game here.  Yet oddly enough, two of the most famous dramas that reference dreams, Calderón de la Barca's La vida es sueño (the quote above is the most famous passage from that excellent play) and Shakespeare's Hamlet ("To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,/ For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,/When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,/Must give us pause...."), are not included here.  But what is included constitutes a wide and varied quotation of classic works regarding dreams and their influence on human actions and thoughts.

Libro de sueños is not an interpretative work, nor is it a scholarly one.  Simply, it is a collection of interesting recorded dreams that Borges found to be interesting.  The analysis and interpretation of these famous dreams are left to the reader to do.  Perhaps some will find reading a few of these a night conducive for remembering their own dreams.  Maybe some will be inspired to have waking dreams that approach the power of these transcribed dreams.  Regardless if this is the case or not, this book certainly is well worth the read, just a little bit at a time.  Dreams do have funny ways of touching us, after all.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Just read the dream sequence from the beginning of Citadel of the Autarch, the one with the witches and Malrubius and the water pouring out of the windows into the new day. And some of the most memorable scenes in Proust (the ones I remember most, anyway) are dreams. Great stuff when done right, but a hackneyed device in the hands of a hack, of course.

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