An excellent, slim volume collecting seven stunning lectures by Borges. Borges is an astute and complex reader, ranging widely within a single essay while staying on point. He defends Dante from Nietzsche's remark that “Dante is a hyena making verses among the tombs” by comparing his plight with Job's:
If Dante had always agreed with the God he imagines, it would have meant that his was a false god, merely a replica of Dante himself. However, Dante must accept his God, as he must accept that Beatrice never loved him, that Florence is vile, as he will have to accept his exile and his death in Ravenna. He must accept the evil of the world, and at the same time, he must worship a God he does not understand. (19-20)
The seven topic Borges speaks on in this volume are: The Divine Comedy, Nightmares, the Thousand and One Nights, Buddhism, Poetry, The Kabbalah, and Blindness.