Jorge Luis Borges Quotes

The possibilities of the art of combination are not infinite, but they tend to be frightful. The Greeks engendered the chimera, a monster with heads of the lion, the dragon and the goat; the theologians of the second century, the Trinity, in which the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are inextricably tied; the Chinese zoologists, the ti-yiang, a vermilion supernatural bird, endowed with six feet and four wings, but without a face or eyes; the geometers of the nineteenth century, the hypercube, a figure with four dimensions, which encloses an infinite number of cubes and has as its faces eight cubes and twenty-four squares. Hollywood has just enriched this vain museum of horrors: by means of an artistic malignity called dubbing, it proposes monsters that combine the illustrious features of Greta Garbo with the voice of Aldonza Lorenzo.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. "On Dubbing" ["Sobre el doblaje"], Discussion [Discusión] (1932). Aldonza Lorenzo is the Spanish peasant girl used by Don Quixote to imagine his ideal lady Dulcinea.
(1) (0)
Universal history is the history of a few metaphors.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. (Essay first published 1951). "Pascal's Sphere," Other Inquisitions (1960), trans. (1964).
(1) (1)
Perhaps universal history is the history of the diverse intonation of some metaphors.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. "Pascal's Sphere" ["La esfera de Pascal" (1951)], Other Inquisitions [Otras inquisiciones] (1952).
(2) (1)
Writing long books is a laborious and impoverishing act of foolishness: expanding in five hundred pages an idea that could be perfectly explained in a few minutes. A better procedure is to pretend that those books already exist and to offer a summary, a commentary.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Preface, The Garden of Forking Paths [El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan] (1942); Ficciones (1942). On his stories "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" and "Examen de la obra de Herbert Quain."
(1) (1)
Reading ... is an activity subsequent to writing: more resigned, more civil, more intellectual.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Preface, Universal History of Infamy [Historia universal de la infamia] (1935).
(3) (1)
Life and death have been lacking in my life.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Prologue, Discussion [Discusión] (1932).
(2) (1)
Life itself is a quotation.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Quoted in Baudrillard, Cool Memories, ch. 5 (1987, trans. 1990). Heard by Jean Baudrillard at a lecture given in Paris.
(4) (1)
In the order of literature, as in others, there is no act that is not the coronation of an infinite series of causes and the source of an infinite series of effects.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. "The Flower of Coleridge" ["La flor de Coleridge"], Other Inquisitions [Otras inquisiciones] (1952).
(2) (0)
To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. "The Meeting in a Dream," Other Inquisitions (1952).
(3) (1)
Coleridge observes that all men are born Aristotelians or Platonists. The latter feel that classes, orders, and genres are realities; the former, that they are generalizations. For the latter, language is nothing but an approximative set of symbols; for the former, it is the map of the universe. The Platonist knows that the universe is somehow a cosmos, an order; that order, for the Aristotelian, can be an error or a fiction of our partial knowledge. Across the latitudes and the epochs, the two immortal antagonists change their name and language: one is Parmenides, Plato, Spinoza, Kant, Francis Bradley; the other, Heraclitus, Aristotle, Locke, Hume, William James.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. "The Nightingale of Keats," Other Inquisitions, University of Texas Press (1964).
(5) (0)