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On Mysticism

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  106 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Editorial Reviews Considering that so much of the work by Argentine author Borges (1899–1986) alludes to the mystical, this is a surprisingly small book. Known throughout the world for his metaphysical fantasies, Borges studied not only Christian mysticism but much Eastern philosophy and religion, including the works of the Sufis, Buddhist doctrines, and Raja, or classical ...more
Paperback, Penguin Classics, 128 pages
Published June 29th 2010 by Penguin USA
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Asciigod
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jorge Luis Borges' writing is single minded, driven, and uncompromising. It is the fumbling of heightened senses, the near-mad scramble of an accomplished polymath demanding sacramental alchemy from his words. It is exacerbation, a skyward launch seeking the velocity to escape the jail of physics. It is hot blood trapped in cold bodies, flight with clipped wings and sideways staircases.

All ideas are unsustainable, destroying themselves when expressed. One could go blind to see the sun but, most
...more
Jim
Mar 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: borges
To begin with, the title is a misnomer. It is more about philosophy than it is about mysticism. The book contains essays and poems with startling epiphanies, including several all-time favorites from Ficciones and The Aleph such as "The Library of Babel," "Funes the Memorious," "The Aleph," "The Zahir," and "The Circular Ruins." Borges is conversant with mysticism, but he is not by any stretch of the imagination a mystic.

But that is hardly Borges's fault. He is gone from us, and his works keep g
...more
Tennie Marie
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Borges' writing about mysticism is like an acid trip.... "A bird that is all birds".... It's really crazy. I read it while floating in my pool this summer and really enjoyed having my mind blown.
Andrew Pixton
The short stories I loved. The poems, reviews, and philosophical arguments I did not. In regards to the arguments I found them both weak. He uses as his premises two other arguments mainly from Berkely whom he adores. I agree with Spencer whom he disagrees with. I found his rebuttal of Spencer's argument confusing and unsound. His stories, however, were powerful and deeply insightful if a little egocentric. The Library of Babel being the best and most fun, and the sole reason I picked this up in ...more
Bob Mustin
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A God By Any Other Name

For many mysticism conjures laughable things. Others allow it to be the freeway to their concept of God. In Borge’s thinking, at least as far as this thin volume of essays goes, mysticism in hidden somewhere in the plumbing of science, philosophy, novels, poetry, or perhaps the urge to idealism. He can’t seem to divorce himself from something to analyze here, whether it be bardic poems, the multifold pronouncements of poets, even in a young man who has met with a tragic, c
...more
Aaron Records
I stumbled upon Borges when I had to read his Book of Imaginary Beings for a course in college. Though I did not fall in love with his writing, my interest was peaked in his thoughts. I went to my college library and took out this book and his Ficciones to learn more about him. I think the reason I love this collection so much is because Borges really has this fantastic way of melding metaphysics with literature. For example, in his story "The Aleph"; an experience of a Berkeley-esque God essent ...more
Nomadman
Not a rating on content, so much as what you get for your money; after all, any collection that includes Funes and the Library of Babel, as well as the brilliant A New Refutation of Time isn't going to merit anything less than five stars. But these works are available elsewhere.

This particular (slim) volume of Borges's essays, poems and short stories centers on the theme of 'mysticism': the nature of time and the universe, musings on identity, memory, omniscience, forgetfulness, themes which inf
...more
Louise
Mar 07, 2011 marked it as unfinished
Library of Babel -- It reminds me of that sci-fi horror movie Cube. Except instead of cubes, all the rooms are hexagons. This short story was as brain-bendy as most of Borges' works. I think it's supposed to be disturbing, but I can't help but think of how nice it would be to live in an infinitely big library with an almost infinite amount of books -- even if most of the books aren't readable to me.
Angela
Mar 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I'd give thus 4 stars because, duh, Borges, but this collection was very slapdash and clearly bungled together to do...something. I'm not sure. Make more money off of Borges? The intro by his widow, Maria Kodama, is pretty asinine. The nonfiction pieces in the back are a bit repetitive and too short to even be called essays. Meh.
Sean Carman
Oct 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The slender volume starts with selected mystical and fantastical shorts by Borges ("Funes the Memorious," "The Aleph" and "The Library of Babel," among others) and concludes with a series of short essays on Berkeley's idealism and Schopenhauer's mysticism. It was fun to revisit these stories, and the essays are super-compact. I have two others on the shelf: On Argentina and On Writing.
Ekrem
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
A nice, if brief collection of stories; it might make a good gift to someone unfamiliar with Borges. While I did discover some stories through it that I hadn't read in the Collected Fictions, I'm unsure whether the grouping helps crystallize the individual stories/texts - the focus seems a little narrow. That being said, it's friggin Borges, so it's always great.
Jasonlylescampbell
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a great little collections of stories from someone I have had on my mental list for 10 years, thanks to a friend from Argentina. She was right, I loved Borges. He feels like he has read everything and brings all of that into intricate twisting little stories. My favorite I think was the Library of Babel. It was only 5 pages but felt like you had read a novel.
David
Dec 30, 2010 rated it liked it
A collection of pieces supposedly based on mysticism. I guess it depends on the reader's concept of mysticism. Much of it can be dismissed since Borges was an atheist. Seemed to me it was a rather crass way to put more money into the coffers of Borges's estate. I know it is rather cynical.
NaomiRuth
Feb 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fav-authors, af
I really enjoy Borges and shall be digging up more of his books as time allows. His vocabulary and literary references astound me. I always find him very inspiring in my own writer's journey.
Matthew Snee
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting if you are a Borges-lover like I am. Not for everyone.
Mersini
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, philosophy
Most of this book went over my head. What I understood, I liked, what I didn't, not so much. But I'm sure to the right person, this short collection of Borges' works is a treasury.
Nick
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
A fantastic little book whose content is largely 5-star material---the only shortage I found here was in quantity and selection: surely JLB has more "on mysticism" than this thin volume!
Ruth
May 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Borges, as always, is brilliant. This is a collection of some of his short stories, interviews, etc. I think everyone needs to read The Circular Ruins at some point!
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Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo, usually referred to as Jorge Luis Borges (Spanish pronunciation: [xoɾxe lwis boɾxes]), was an Argentine writer and poet born in Buenos Aires. In 1914, his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school and traveled to Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals. He also wo ...more
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