Don Segundo Sombra.Buenos Aires, Editorial Proa, 1926 Stock Code: 130488
NotesFirst edition, first printing, a major association copy, being the copy of Jorge Luis Borges, with his ownership signature dated Buenos Aires 1936 on the title page. Güiraldes and Borges were friends, and both influenced the literary career of the other. They met around 1924-5, and Borges helped Güiraldes launch the magazine Proa. It was Güiraldes who gave Borges his copy of Joyce's Ulysses, and he would often visit Borges with his guitar. However, "later Borges confessed that he could never finish Güiraldes's novel Don Segundo Sombra; this gives us an insight into how Borges read, for he rarely finished any novels" (Jason Wilson, Jorge Luis Borges, 2006, p. 72). Despite stating that he hadn't finished the novel, Borges still contributed an article on it to the magazine Sur in 1952 (Borges, "Don Segundo Sombra", Sur, nos. 217-8, 1952), in which he compared the work to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.
Don Segundo Sombra, the best-known work of Güiraldes, had a significant role in the development of "gauchesque" literature. A heavily romanticised "gaucho" was a recurrent figure in South American literature from the 1870s onwards. Güiraldes redefined the character, no longer so heroic, but still presenting an elegiac view of a way of life that has passed. The novel was published to acclaim, and Güiraldes died a few months later, after a literary career generally marked without popular success.
The copy was later passed to his brother-in-law, the Spanish poet and Ultraist Guillermo de Torre (1900-1971), with his illustrative ex-libris stamp to the first blank. This is one of several books with Borges's ownership signature or annotations that appeared in the Buenos Aires sale of Guillermo de Torre's library in 1980.
Small quarto. Original brown printed wrappers. With glassine jacket. Housed in a black flat-back cloth box by the Chelsea Bindery.
Light chipping at extremities, short split at head of front joint. A very good copy.
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