|Author||Jorge Luis Borges with Margarita Guerrero |
|Original title||Manual de zoología fantástica (later retitled El libro de los seres imaginarios)|
|Translator||Norman Thomas di Giovanni (1969)  and others|
|Country||Argentina [ citation needed ]|
|Publisher||Fondo de Cultura Económica (1957); Dutton (1969) |
Published in English
|Pages||159 (1967); 256 (English) |
|LC Class||GR825.B6; GR825.B613 |
The Book of Imaginary Beings was written by Jorge Luis Borges with Margarita Guerrero and published in 1957 under the original Spanish title Manual de zoología fantástica ("Handbook of fantastic zoology").    It contains descriptions of mythical beasts from folklore and literature. In 1967 the authors published an expanded edition retitled as El libro de los seres imaginaros. Borges collaborated on the first English translation, which was praised upon its publication in 1969.
Although a work of fiction, the book is situated in a tradition of Paper Museums, bestiaries, and natural history writing.  In the preface, Borges states that the book is to be read "as with all miscellanies... not... straight through... Rather we would like the reader to dip into the pages at random, just as one plays with the shifting patterns of a kaleidoscope"; and that "legends of men taking the shapes of animals" have been omitted.
The original 1957 publication of Manual de zoología fantástica contained eighty two entries. Thirty four additional entries were added to the retitled second edition. While collaborating on the 1969 English translation, Borges revised many of the original entries and added another four, bringing the total count to 120. 
In 2005, Penguin published an illustrated edition with a new English translation of the 116 entry 1967 edition as part of its series of Classics Deluxe editions.
A review from Publishers Weekly praised the book, describing it as "perfect foils for classic Borgesian musings on everything from biblical etymology to the underworld, giving the creatures particularly vivid and perfectly scaled shape".  Reviewing the book for The Guardian , Caspar Henderson stated that the book was brief but also a "map of the endless labyrinth of human imagination and its contents" that was "dense and deep". The reviewer also commented that the entries on legends were "delightful".  Benjamin DeMott in The New York Times also complimented the book, stating that it was "an amusing tribute to the human gift for seeing the invisible and debating whether it whistles".  An article in Journal of Modern Literature, written by Melanie Nicholson, reported that some critics described the book as a "curious but unoriginal compilation of already-told tale". However, Nicholson stated that it was also "one worthy of serious consideration". 
A similar book, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, was later authored by Caspar Henderson. 
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, as well as a key figure in Spanish-language and international literature. His best-known books, Ficciones (Fictions) and El Aleph, published in the 1940s, are collections of short stories exploring themes of dreams, labyrinths, chance, infinity, archives, mirrors, fictional writers and mythology. Borges's works have contributed to philosophical literature and the fantasy genre, and have had a major influence on the magic realist movement in 20th century Latin American literature.
Adolfo Bioy Casares was an Argentine fiction writer, journalist, diarist, and translator. He was a friend and frequent collaborator with his fellow countryman Jorge Luis Borges. He is the author of the Fantastique novel The Invention of Morel.
Bahamut, or Bahamoot, is a monster that lies deep below, underpinning the support structure that holds up the earth, according to Zakariya al-Qazwini.
This is a bibliography of works by Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet, and translator Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986).
Norman Thomas di Giovanni was an American-born editor and translator known for his collaboration with Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges.
Juan José Arreola Zúñiga was a Mexican writer, academic, and actor. He is considered Mexico's premier experimental short story writer of the 20th century. Arreola is recognized as one of the first Latin American writers to abandon realism; he used elements of fantasy to underscore existentialist and absurdist ideas in his work. Although he is little known outside Mexico, Arreola has served as the literary inspiration for a legion of Mexican writers who have sought to transform their country's realistic literary tradition by introducing elements of magical realism, satire, and allegory. Alongside Jorge Luis Borges, he is considered one of the masters of the hybrid subgenre of the essay-story. Arreola is primarily known for his short stories and he only published one novel, La feria.
Gheorghi Arnaoudov is a Bulgarian composer of stage, orchestral, chamber, film, vocal, and piano music. His work has roots in minimal music.
A Bao A Qu is a legendary Mewar creature described in Jorge Luis Borges's 1967 Book of Imaginary Beings. Borges claimed to have found it either in an introduction to the Arabian Nights by Richard Francis Burton, or in the book On Malay Witchcraft (1937) by C.C. Iturvuru. The Burton reference was given in the original Spanish, but it was changed to the Iturvuru reference in the English text, possibly to make it sound more exotic, or as a reference to Borges' friend C. C. Iturburu. The writer Antares conjectures that Borges's tale might be inspired by Orang Asli myth, and that "A Bao A Qu" is a slurring of abang aku meaning "my elder brother".
The Peluda in Spanish, or La Velue originally in French, is a mythical beast that terrorized the environs of the River Huisne, France, during the Middle Ages. It is called "The Shaggy Beast of La Ferté-Bernard" in English translation.
Fondo de Cultura Económica is a Spanish language, non-profit publishing group, partly funded by the Mexican government. It is based in Mexico but it has subsidiaries throughout the Spanish-speaking world.
In American folklore, a teakettler is a creature with origins in lumberjack culture, specifically the lumber camps of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is part of a group of related entities collectively as Fearsome Critters. It is said to resemble a small stubby legged dog with the ears of a cat. Its name comes from the sound it makes, which is akin to that of a boiling tea kettle. It only walks backwards, and steam issues from its mouth as it makes its whistle. As the myth goes, only a few lumberjacks have seen one, as they are very shy, but if a boiling kettle is heard and nowhere to be found, it is sure that a Teakettler is nearby.
Fernando Escalante Gonzalbo is a Mexican sociologist and public intellectual of wide renown in Mexico and Spain. He is perhaps most well known for his study of nineteenth-century civic culture in Mexico, Imaginary Citizens, a book that made his reputation as a highly skilled interpreter of Mexican politics and has since gone through three editions. He is the author of over a dozen additional books and a large number of scholarly articles on political theory, historical sociology, and cultural criticism. Escalante also intervenes frequently in the print and television media of Mexico, and has been widely cited in sociological papers and studies on his views of cultural transformation of Mexico.
Baldanders or Soon-Different is a creature of Germanic literary myth that features protean properties.
The Zaratan is a grandiose sea turtle found in literature and folk lore. Zaratans are notable for their long-life span and impossible size. Zaratan shells are easily mistaken for small islands, similar to the whale-like Fastitocalon. The Zaratan is catalogued in Jorge Luis Borges's El Libro de Los Seres Imaginarios. Zaratans also appear in some editions of the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons.
Robert Kay Gordon (1887–1973) was an English scholar of medieval and early modern English literature and administrator at the University of Alberta in Canada.
The Book of Sand is a 1975 short story collection by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. In the author's opinion, the collection, written relatively late in his career — and while blind — is his best book. This opinion is not shared by most critics, many of whom prefer his other works such as those in Ficciones (1944).
Zofia Chądzyńska or Sophie Bohdan, was a Polish writer and translator of the Iberoamerican literature. Her first book was published in French under a pseudonym of Sophie Bohdan, entitled "Comme l'ombre qui passe", Publisher: Paris : Calmann-Lévy, 1960. Later she was publishing in Polish under her original name Zofia Chądzyńska.
Kuyūthā is the cosmic bull in medieval Islamic cosmography. It is said to carry on its back the angel who shoulders the earth and the rock platform upon which the angel stands. The bull is said to stand on the giant fish or whale, Bahamut.
Antonio Colinas Lobato is a Spanish writer and intellectual who was born in La Bañeza, León, Spain on January 30, 1946. He has published a variety of works, but is considered to be above all a poet. He won Spain's National Prize for Literature in 1982, among several other honors and awards.
Margarita Guerrero was an Argentinean dancer and writer. She is known for her collaborations with Jorge Luis Borges, with whom she co-wrote and edited Book of Imaginary Beings and El "Martín Fierro". As his eyesight failed, Borges relied increasingly on collaborators in creating his work, and Guerrero's role in Book of Imaginary Beings in particular is thought to have been that of a researcher and compiler.