|by Jorge Luis Borges|
|Original title||El Zahir|
|Genre(s)||Fantasy, short story|
"The Zahir" (original Spanish title: "El Zahir") is a short story by the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. It is one of the stories in the book The Aleph and Other Stories , first published in 1949, and revised by the author in 1974.
Zahir is a person or an object that has the power to create an obsession in everyone who sees it, so that the affected person perceives less and less of reality and more and more of the Zahir, at first only while asleep, then at all times.
In the story, a fictionalized version of Borges gets the Zahir in his change after paying for a drink in the form of a 20 cents coin. Borges then tells the reader about a train of thought focused on famous coins throughout history and legend, and the fact that a coin symbolizes our free will, since it can be turned into anything. These feverish thoughts keep him awake for a while. The next day, Borges decides to lose the coin. He goes to a faraway neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, while he carefully avoids looking at the street names and numbers, and manages to get rid of the Zahir by paying for another drink in an anonymous bar.
The writer is unable to forget the coin, which he gradually becomes more obsessed with. He tries to look for a cure, and after some research, he finds a book that explains the history behind the Zahir, and that it manifested previously as a tiger, an astrolabe, the bottom of a well, and a vein in a marble column in a mosque. According to the myth, everything on earth has the propensity to be a Zahir, but "the Almighty does not allow more than one thing at a time to be it, since one alone can seduce multitudes."
Borges tells us that soon he will be unable to perceive external reality, and he will have to be dressed and fed; but then he reflects that this fate does not worry him, since he will be oblivious to it. In idealistic philosophy, "to live and to dream are synonymous," and he will simply pass "from a very complex dream to a very simple dream." In a mixture of despair and resignation, he wonders:
Others will dream that I am mad, and I [will dream] of the Zahir. When all men on earth think day and night of the Zahir, which one will be a dream and which a reality, the earth or the Zahir?
The title of The Zahir (2005) by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho refers to Borges' story. It tells the story of a man who becomes obsessed with his wife, who has disappeared.
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 majorly influenced the magic realist movement in 20th century Latin American literature.
"Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is a short story by the 20th-century Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. The story was first published in the Argentinian journal Sur, May 1940. The "postscript" dated 1947 is intended to be anachronistic, set seven years in the future. The first English-language translation of the story was published in 1961.
Mona Lisa Overdrive is a science fiction novel by American-Canadian writer William Gibson, published in 1988. It is the final novel of the cyberpunk Sprawl trilogy, following Neuromancer and Count Zero, taking place eight years after the events of the latter. The novel was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel, the Hugo Award for Best Novel, and the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1989.
"Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges.
"The Immortal" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, first published in February 1947, and later in the collection El Aleph in 1949. The story tells about a character who mistakenly achieves immortality and then, weary of a long life, struggles to lose it and writes an account of his experiences. The story consists of a quote, an introduction, five chapters, and a postscript. "The Immortal" has been described as "the culmination of Borges' art" by critic Ronald J. Christ.
Labyrinths is a collection of short stories and essays by the writer Jorge Luis Borges. It was translated into English, published soon after Borges won the International Publishers' Prize with Samuel Beckett.
The Aleph and Other Stories is a book of short stories by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The title work, "The Aleph", describes a point in space that contains all other spaces at once. The work also presents the idea of infinite time. Borges writes in the original afterword, dated May 3, 1949, that most of the stories belong to the genre of fantasy, mentioning themes such as identity and immortality. Borges added four new stories to the collection in the 1952 edition, for which he provided a brief postscript to the afterword. The story "La intrusa" was first printed in the third edition of El Aleph (1966) and was later included in the collection El informe de Brodie (1970).
This is a bibliography of works by Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet, and translator Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986).
"The Aleph" is a short story by the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. First published in September 1945, it was reprinted in the short story collection, The Aleph and Other Stories, in 1949, and revised by the author in 1974.
"The House of Asterion" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The story was first published in 1947 in the literary magazine Los Anales de Buenos Aires and republished in Borges's short story collection The Aleph in 1949. It is based on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and is told from the perspective of Asterion, the Minotaur.
"The Crystal Egg" is a science fiction short story written by H. G. Wells in 1897.
"The Circular Ruins" is a short story by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. First published in the literary journal Sur in December 1940, it was included in the 1941 collection The Garden of Forking Paths and the 1944 collection Ficciones. It was first published in English in View, translated by Paul Bowles.
"The Sect of the Phoenix" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, first published in Sur in 1952. It was included in the 1956 edition of Ficciones, part two (Artifices). The title has also been translated as "The Cult of the Phoenix."
"The Writing of the God" is a short story by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. It was published in Sur in February 1949, and later reprinted in the collection The Aleph.
Shakespeare's Memory is a short story collection published in 1983 that collects the last stories by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, which had been published in diverse mediums, such as the national newspapers La Nación and Clarín. It was published three years before the author's death.
"The Congress" is a 1971 short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The story is on an utopic universal congress and is seen by critics as a political essay.
"The Theologians" is a short story by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. It was featured in the collection Labyrinths. It was originally published in Los Anales de Buenos Aires in April 1947 and appears in the 1949 short story collection The Aleph.
"Emma Zunz" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The tale recounts how its eponymous heroine avenges the death of her father. Originally published in September 1948 in the magazine Sur, it was reprinted in Borges' 1949 collection The Aleph. The story deals with the themes of justice and revenge, and of right and wrong. As in several other short stories, Borges illustrates the difficulty in understanding and describing reality. The story relies on issues of deceit, self-deception and inauthenticity to illustrate this.
"The Man on the Threshold" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. It was published in La Nación in April 1952 and added to 1952 edition of short story collection Aleph.
"Story of the Warrior and the Captive" is a short story by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. It first appeared in 1949 in the short story collection El Aleph and later appeared in Labyrinths.