Inquisiciones.Buenos Aires, Editorial Proa, 1925 Stock Code: 129496
NotesFirst edition, first impression, a superlative presentation copy of the author's first work of prose. One of 505 copies printed, this is a uniquely untrimmed, unnumbered, and specially bound presentation copy inscribed by Borges on the first blank to his fellow Argentine author, and muse, Norah Lange (1905-1972).
Borges's inscription, using the nickname reserved only for family and his most intimate friends, reads, "a la aureolada Nora, muy cordialmente - Georgie" ("to the radiant/haloed Nora, very warmly, Georgie"). A pencil note below, apparently in the hand of Lange's sister, observes "no pudo, para ti, encontrar mejor adjetivo" ("he could not have found a better adjective for you"). This radiance may be read either in reference to the light colouring afforded by Lange's exotic Scandinavian blood (she was three-quarters Norwegian), or a sign of Borges's worship of her at this time.
Edwin Williamson asserts Lange's central significance as Borges's early muse in his 2011 biography, identifying her as the focus of a love triangle involving Borges and his literary rival the poet Oliverio Girondo. Borges went so far as to propose marriage to Lange in March 1927, but she turned him down, and eventually married Girondo in 1943. The time around the publication of Inquicisiones, however, marks the peak of Borges and Lange's flirtation. A piece praising Lange is included among the essays of Inquisiciones, gushing for three pages of poetic prose about "the double brilliance of her hair and her haughty youth", affirming their shared comradeship as poets of the Ultraist movement, and likening the appearance of her poems to a "luna nueva". This piece was printed in the same year as the prologue to Lange's debut books of poems, La Calle de la Tarde.
Lange's importance to Borges is well-documented, but her novels and poems have recently received renewed attention in their own right, with Prof. Kay Sibbald hailing Lange's "vanguard feminism", and a translation into English of her novel The People in the Room just published in August 2018.
The published copies were trimmed and bound in blue wrappers, but the text block of this copy is almost a centimetre longer from gutter to fore edge, and the edges much more roughly cut. Borges had a set of untrimmed sheets specially bound for presentation to Lange. We are unaware of any other copy thus presented, making this copy perhaps the primary presentation copy of Borges's first experiment with short prose pieces, the medium in which he would decades later achieve his monumental status in world literature.
Octavo (175 x 130 mm). Specially bound for presentation in contemporary tan cloth, red morocco title labels to spine, marbled endpapers. Housed in a black quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.
Title label at the head a little chipped, cloth somewhat spotted with a few other marks, light rubbing to extremities, some foxing within, a very good copy.
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