Seven public lectures delivered in Buenos Aires in 1977. Borges develops an interesting parallel between Melville's Moby Dick and the Ulysses canto of the Inferno. He's impressively erudite regarding the various translations of the Thousand and One Nights. Links are forged between Buddha and Schopenhauer: ""For Schopenhauer, the somber Schopenhauer, and for the Buddha, the world is a dream. We must stop dreaming it, and we can only stop through great effort. . . ."" On poetry, Borges stresses, through examination of the word ""moon"" in various tongues, the esthetic arbitrariness of language--which leads to its true expressive potential. And, on the Kabbalah: ""In each one of us there is a particle of divinity. This world evidently cannot be the work of an all-powerful and just god, but it depends on us."" Unafraid to be personal, then, Borges also touches on his own nightmares (""Mine are always the same. . . I always dream of labyrinths or of mirrors"") and, eloquently, on his own blindness: ""One of the colors that the blind--or at least this blind man--do not see is black; another is red. Le rouge et le noir are the colors denied us. I, who was accustomed to sleeping in total darkness, was bothered for a long time at having to sleep in this world of mist, in the greenish or blueish mist, vaguely luminous, which is the world of the blind."" In sum: engaging essays, disarming in their far-flung variety--from a non-dazzling Borges who seems content to approach literature and philosophy in a straightforward, general, yet uncondescending manner.