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The value of these books and manuscripts lies not only in the fact that a millionaire might be willing to pay for them, but, as both buyers and traffickers understand, in their import as cultural artifacts. When, four years after filing his report, casares was called to give a statement about it, he was unable to make the Argentine court understand this. the national Library of Argentina, buenos Aires. Photo: Phillip Capper, via flickr no one seemed to care about the civic aspect of the matter, either. The national Library is as old as Argentina: it was created in 1810, together with the first national government, and its first director was Mariano moreno, one of the greatest national heroes and the founder of the countrys first newspaper. The library was, at one point, something to be proud of, and Borgess name is inextricably linked to its history; he was its director for eighteen years, between 19By then, books were already disappearing from its shelves. When asked whether this was true, he replied, in typical fashion, i cant tell whether books are being stolen, because Im blind.

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After all, this was not a manuscript or a unique copy—it was a printed book, one of many. Even if it had Borgess handwriting in it, what, really, was its importance? The library itself had another copy of the same edition. Trafficking in cultural property, including rare books and manuscripts, is a six-billion-dollar-a-year industry, second only to arms and drugs, according to estimates often cited in international conferences. Interpol, which two decades ago opened an office to deal with this kind of crime, says that estimate is impossible to confirm. Most of the trafficking centers on London—its endpoint tends to be the United States, where there are enough people willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even millions, for a rare book. According to Travis McDade, a professor at the University of Illinois Law School, owning a unique symbol of universal culture makes some people feel just as unique. Never underestimate peoples necessity to be considered intelligent, he says. Nobody knows how many valuable books have been stolen and bought in the black market, and every now and then a scandal breaks to prove our ignorance. In 2003, it was found that an employee at the royal Library in Denmark had stolen, in the previous thirty years, more than three thousand unique books, among them manuscripts by Immanuel Kant, fifteenth-century atlases, and first editions of Martin Luther. The case only became public when, after the employee died, his widow tried to sell the collection to Christies.

years passed. Billinghurst had already died of liver disease by the time the internal inquiry confirmed that the copy. Fervor had, in effect, disappeared. Casares was summoned to the ministry of Education to confirm his theft report. The bureaucrat that took his statement warned him: If you ratify this, it will get to the federal justice. And so it did. The officers paper at the federal court of Judge jorge ballestero were used to dealing with drugs and government corruption; they didnt quite understand the gravity of the matter.

the fifth wave book summary

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Instead of thanking him, peña begged him to hide. The library had not yet paid him for the books, which he had already delivered, and a scandal could ruin his retrolisthesis chances of getting the money. Casares, determined to do the right thing, talked to Alejandro vaccaro, the borges specialist, essay who understood the seriousness of the matter and offered to go with him to explain it to the director of the national Library, francisco delich. They got an audience, but, just like peña, the director did not seem to welcome the news. First, delich and a couple of library employees denied that the copy had been stolen—it was, they said, stuck in Portugal as part of a traveling exhibition about Borges. (Much later, a library employee confirmed that, for budgetary issues, the Argentine government took three years to repatriate that exhibition.) Also, the library had never properly catalogued the book before sending it off in the exhibition, which made it hard to confirm it was the. Exasperated, casares demanded that the police be told, and that they raid Billinghursts apartment immediately to recover the book. But the employees only went as far as to initiate an internal inquiry.

Im going to report this robbery to the national Library, casares warned Pastore. You do whatever you want. He watched Pastore leave with the stolen book. But he remained deeply convinced that Pastore was not going to buy. Fifteen years later, casares bitterly regrets his outburst of civic responsibility. What happened afterward taught him that, in Argentina, its better to keep your mouth shut. before he filed the report, casares called juan Manuel peña to warn him that a book from his collection had been stolen from the library.

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the fifth wave book summary

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Every self-respecting collector of his works owns a copy from that first edition. Few copies remain—only 150, according to casares, with no more than fifteen in circulation. But Pastore had that copy in his hands. Could Casares confirm that it was a legitimate first edition? He identified it immediately—it was the. Fervor de buenos Aires from the peña collection, sold to the national Library a couple of months earlier by juan Manuel peña. Indeed, casares knew this copy very well; six years earlier, peña had lent it to him to make a facsimile edition.

It had no cover; a handwritten dedication by the author to the poet Nydia lamarque; and, in the fifth line of the poem Villa Urquiza, a correction, also handwritten: the article una was crossed out, and in the right margin Borges had changed. Borges used to correct his verses as he gave them away, especially in this edition, which had been published with mistakes because of the rush. (Many copies of the first edition show the same handwritten correction.). The edition is good, said Casares. It was stolen from the national Library. Who gave it to you? Pastore mentioned guillermo billinghurst, a mediocre bookbinder, according to casares, who used to bring him Borges first editions of dubious origins—a client had left it with him for binding, he would claim every time, and did not return to pick.

For men like casares and Pastore, it was a kind of grail—the most valuable first edition of Argentinas greatest twentieth-century writer. The first edition of, fervor was funded by borgess father when the author was twenty-three. The book was actually printed in five days; the printing had to be rushed, because it was necessary for us to return to europe, borges writes in his 1970 essay autobiographical Notes. It was produced in a somewhat boyish spirit. No proofreading was done, no table of contents was provided, and the pages were unnumbered.


My sister made a woodcut for the cover, and three hundred copies were printed most of them I just gave away. Borges had lived in Europe between 19, and the forty-six poems he gathered. Fervor de buenos Aires reflect what he found upon returning to Argentina. The city of his childhood had changed, says beatriz sarlo, a leading expert on his works. It had almost lost the most colorful marks of its criollo small town past borges returned, then, to a place he did not know. fervor de buenos Aires foreshadows everything I would do afterward, wrote borges.

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He was thinking of a former client, daniel Pastore, a collector of rare books and first editions, heir to a pharmaceutical fortune and owner of Imago mundi, buenos Airess most elegant antiquarian bookshop, which closed a few years ago after a succession of international scandals. Casares was annoyed and fascinated by pastore, who was eighteen the first time he walked into casares bookshop. He was handsome, rich, likeable, and learned—a good client. But he was also pedantic; writing he claimed to know more about rare books than Casares. But not when it came to jorge luis Borges. one morning in late 1999, pastore brought in a copy of the first edition. Fervor de buenos Aires, borgess first published book.

the fifth wave book summary

The world of rare books and manuscripts is full of intrigues, betrayals, and frauds. Alberto casares has lived in this world for movie decades; as the president of the Antiquarian booksellers Association of buenos Aires, hes an expert on the subject. Hes got the physique du rôl : a gray, messy beard; a soft body; an intense and wary look. A few months ago, casares was offered a seventeenth-century original edition. Don quixote for one million euros. He recognized it as a well-known forgery from the nineteenth century, worth no more than 200,000. The seller took it away, determined to find a more unsuspecting client, and Casares was left alone with the melancholy of having lost something that was never his to own. What would some people give to own it? Casares told me, bibliographers are willing to commit crimes to follow their mad desire to own things.

seen to light up and suddenly break into a delightful smile. The warmth and kindness that beam from his features will astonish those hasty psychologists who have never divined that behind the destroyer is the creator, and behind the blasphemer the lover of life. In the retrospective valuation of his work which appears in "Ecce homo" the author himself observes with truth that the fourth book, "Sanctus Januarius deserves especial attention: "The whole book is a gift from the saint, and the introductory verses express my gratitude for the. (Summary by Dr Oscar levy). Genre(s poetry, *Non-fiction, Philosophy, language: English). Seven years ago, a stolen first edition of Borgess early poems was returned to Argentinas National Library. But was it the right copy? Jorge luis Borges in 1963.

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The fifth wave book summary
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