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Viterbo, Beatriz

Index: El Aleph, El Aleph, OC,Obras completas. Buenos Aires: Emecé, 1974. 617-28.
Type
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character in Borges story, based to some extent on Estela Canto

Fishburn and Hughes: A character in 'El Aleph', indifferent to the affection of her lover and unworthy of his respect and admiration. The name may be totally fictitious, or it may be meant to represent a woman known personally to Borges; he has both denied and acknowledged the autobiographical aspects of the story. When he wrote it he was reputedly in love with its dedicatee, Estela Canto. The story is generally considered to be a humorous retelling of Dante's mystical experience, inspired by the vision of Beatrice Portinari. It was first published in 1949, the year in which Borges wrote the introduction to a Spanish translation of the Divine Comedy. The treatment of the theme of revelation in the story may be an attempt to exorcise the haunting image of Dante. Borges admired Dante throughout his life and wrote several articles on him. The first was published in 1929, the year when the fictional Beatriz Viterbo dies. CF 298: In 'El encuentro en un sueño', Borges remarks on the severity and harshness with which Beatrice speaks to Dante in his vision (Purgatory, Canto 32) and adds that in real life, she had also treated him with dislike and contempt. The Aleph