God grant that the essential monotony of this miscellany (which time has compiled – not I -and which admits past pieces that I have not dared to revise, because I wrote them with a different concept of literature) be less evident than the geographical and historical diversity of its themes. Of all the books I have delivered to the presses, none, I think, is as personal as the straggling collection mustered for this hodgepodge, precisely because it abounds in reflections and interpolations. Few things have happened to me, and I have read a great many. Or rather, few things have happened to me more worth remembering than Schopenhaur’s thought or the music of England’s words.
A man sets himself the task of portraying the world. Through the years he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and people. Shortly before his death, he discovers that that patient labyrinth of lines traces the image of his face.
J. L. B
Buenos Aires, October 31, 1960.
[From Dreamtigers, by Jorges Luis Borges, translated by Harold Morland]