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Argentine author (1899-1986)

Jorge Luis Borges quote

Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "A New Refutation of Time," Other Inquisitions

Man's memory shapes
Its own Eden within.


May Heaven exist, even if my place is Hell.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "The Library of Babel"

We feel poetry as we feel the closeness of a woman, or as we feel a mountain or a bay. If we feel it immediately, why dilute it with other words, which no doubt will be weaker than our feelings?


Fame is a form, perhaps the worst form, of incomprehension.


The heresies we should fear are those which can be confused with orthodoxy.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Theologians

I think nowadays, while literary men seem to have neglected their epic duties, the epic has been saved for us, strangely enough, by the Westerns.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1967

The future is inevitable and precise, but it may not occur. God lurks in the gaps.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Creation and P. H. Gosse," Other Inquisitions

Time, which despoils castles, enriches verses.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Averroes' Search"

No one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men. Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist.


The things that are said in literature are always the same. What is important is the way they are said.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1967

Life and death have been lacking in my life.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, prologue, Discussion

A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Note on (toward) Bernard Shaw," Other Inquisitions

I know of one semibarbarous zone whose librarians repudiate the "vain and superstitious habit" of trying to find sense in books, equating such a quest with attempting to find meaning in dreams or in the chaotic lines on the palms of one's hand.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "The Library of Babel"

Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Partial Magic in the Quixote," Labyrinths

We (the indivisible divinity that works in us) have dreamed the world. We have dreamed it resistant, mysterious, visible, ubiquitous in space and firm in time, but we have allowed slight, and eternal, bits of the irrational to form part of its architecture so as to know that it is false.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Avatars of the Tortoise," Discussion

To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "The Meeting in a Dream," Other Inquisitions

As I think of the many myths, there is one that is very harmful, and that is the myth of countries. I mean, why should I think of myself as being an Argentine, and not a Chilean, and not an Uruguayan. I don't know really. All of those myths that we impose on ourselves — and they make for hatred, for war, for enmity — are very harmful. Well, I suppose in the long run, governments and countries will die out and we'll be just, well, cosmopolitans.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, Artful Dodge, Apr. 1980

This happy conjecture affirmed that there is only one subject, that this indivisible subject is every being in the universe and that these beings are the organs and masks of the divinity.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

Jorge Luis Borges quote

It is clear that there is no classification of the Universe that is not arbitrary and full of conjectures. The reason for this is very simple: we do not know what kind of thing the universe is.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Analytical Language of John Wilkins

What man of us has never felt, walking through the twilight or writing down a date from his past, that he has lost something infinite?


To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Deutsches Requiem," Labyrinths

What one man does is something done, in some measure, by all men.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "The Form of the Sword," Ficciones

There's no need to build a labyrinth when the entire universe is one.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Ibn-Hakim Al-Bokhari, Murdered in His Labyrinth"

Any life, however long and complicated it may be, actually consists of a single moment — the moment when a man knows forever more who he is.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "A Biography of Tadeo Isidoro Cruz"

The impossibility of penetrating the divine pattern of the universe cannot stop us from planning human patterns, even though we are conscious they are not definitive.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Analytical Language of John Wilkins

Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "The Divine Comedy"

Really, nobody knows whether the world is realistic or fantastic, that is to say, whether the world is a natural process or whether it is a kind of dream, a dream that we may or may not share with others.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1967

The unicorn, because of its own anomaly, will pass unnoticed. Our eyes see what they are accustomed to seeing.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Modesty of History

That one individual should awaken in another memories that belong to still a third is an obvious paradox.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, Evaristo Carriego

The machinery of the world is far too complex for the simplicity of men.


I will pause to consider this eternity from which the subsequent ones derive.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "A History of Eternity"

Myth is at the beginning of literature, and also at its end.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "Parable of Cervantes and Don Quixote," Dreamtigers

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, preface, The Garden of Forking Paths

I foresee that man will resign himself each day to more atrocious undertakings; soon there will be no one but warriors and brigands; I give them this counsel: The author of an atrocious undertaking ought to imagine that he has already accomplished it, ought to impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, "The Garden of Forking Paths"

Intelligence has little to do with poetry. Poetry springs from something deeper; it's beyond intelligence. It may not even be linked with wisdom. It's a thing of its own; it has a nature of its own. Undefinable.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1967

There is nothing very remarkable about being immortal; with the exception of mankind, all creatures are immortal, for they know nothing of death. What is divine, terrible, and incomprehensible is to know oneself immortal.


Time can't be measured in days the way money is measured in pesos and centavos, because all pesos are equal, while every day, perhaps every hour, is different.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, Brodie's Report

When I write, I write because a thing has to be done. I don't think a writer should meddle too much with his own work. He should let the work write itself.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1967

Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, preface, Dr. Brodie's Report

Heaven and hell seem out of proportion to me: the actions of men do not deserve so much.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, attributed, Borges Verbal

My undertaking is not difficult, essentially ... I should only have to be immortal to carry it out.

JORGE LUIS BORGES, The Garden of Forking Paths

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