Download Short Stories for Students, Volume 17 by David Galens PDF

By David Galens

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So too, total enumeration is one of the main procedures by which epic poems create the effect of all-inclusive vision. In this matter I follow Tillyard and a host of others who regard epics as long poems distinguished by their amplitude and inclusiveness. Tillyard’s perspective is useful here because he differentiates the heroic poem from the epic, which need not have a ‘‘heroic matter’’ but which does give a ‘‘heroic impression’’ through the ambitiousness and comprehensiveness of its project. In fact, this accords well with medieval views of the epic poet as encyclopedist/polymath and of 2 0 the classical epic as a compendium of knowledge.

For grasping the batin requires initiation if it is not to be detrimental to the seer. But seeing the batin is also mandatory for those who ‘‘have vision,’’ failing which they would be sinners. And Borges, our narrator, has seen the Zahir, Allah’s apparent aspect. Let us examine his thoughts and feelings upon coming across this threshold to the batin: I stared at it for a moment, and went into the street, perhaps with the beginnings of a fever . . As if in a dream, the thought that every piece of money entails such illustrious connotations seemed to me of huge, though inexplicable, importance .

Borges, the narrator of ‘‘The Aleph,’’ is at a loss for words: ‘‘And here begins my despair as a writer. ’’ But his experience is unique, and therefore uncommunicable. For he has seen the Aleph. ‘‘The Zahir’’ and ‘‘The Aleph,’’ although written a number of years apart, are frequently paired by critics, as a number of stylistic and thematic parallels invite the comparison. The narrator in both stories is a man, Borges, who has had an experience that proves to be a revelation. This experience, in both cases, has left an indelible trace on him, left him a different person.

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