Dreamtigers by Jorge Luis Borges

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Souvenir Press, 1973. First UK edition. 95 pages. Illustrated by Antonio Frasconi. Translated by Mildred Boyer. Jacket price clipped, slight darkening to rear, near fine copy.

Dreamtigers is a collection of poems and other short writings by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. Primarily exploring landscapes of dream-life, and those often-uncanny relationships to material conditions, Borges offers a feast of magical prose filled with symbolism, parables, and visions of tigers. 


“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 Schopenhauer's thought or the music of England's words.”

“Leaving behind the babble of the plaza, I enter the Library. I feel, almost physically, the gravitation of the books, the enveloping serenity of order, time magically desiccated and preserved.”

"In my childhood I was a fervent worshiper of the tiger: not the jaguar, the spotted “tiger” of the Amazonian tangles and the isles of vegetation that float down the Paraná, but that striped, Asiatic, royal tiger, that can only be faced by a man of war, on a castle atop an elephant. I used to linger endlessly before one of the cages at the zoo; I judged vast encyclopedias and books of natural history by the splendor of their tigers. (I still remember those illustrations: I who cannot rightly recall the brow or the smile of a woman.) Childhood passed away, and the tigers and my passion for them grew old, but still they are in my dreams. At that submerged or chaotic level they keep prevailing. And so, as I sleep, some dream beguiles me, and suddenly I know I am dreaming. Then I think: this is a dream, a pure diversion of my will; and now that I have unlimited power, I am going to cause a tiger.

Oh, incompetence! Never can my dreams engender the wild beast I long for. The tiger indeed appears, but stuffed or flimsy, or with impure variations of shape, or of an implausible size, or all too fleeting, or with a touch of the dog or the bird."