Skip to main content

Canto Augural

Index: El Aleph

Fishburn and Hughes: One of several examples in 'The Aleph' of 'universal poems': that is, poems which take a global view of the universe. Others are Drayton's Polyolbion and, though not specifically mentioned, the Divine Comedy. The title may be an allusion to Neruda's Canto General, in which he tells the history of America, from earliest times, before it got its name, to the present. The Canto was not published until 1950, a year after 'The Aleph', but Neruda began writing it in 1938 and Borges probably knew of it. Borges was critical of Neruda's denunciation of the USA in the Canto, because of his silence about Perón, which Borges attributed to self-interest. Earlier, Neruda had written a collection of poems entitled Residence on Earth. 'The Earth', the poem mentioned in the same story, may be an allusion to this. The Aleph