Jorge Luis Borges

(24 August 1899 – 14 June 1986 / Buenos Aires / Argentina)

Jorge Luis Borges
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Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo was an Argentine writer and poet born in Buenos Aires. In 1914, his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school and traveled to Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals. He also worked as a librarian and public lecturer. Borges was bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English. He was a target of political persecution during the Peron regime.

Due to a hereditary condition, Borges became blind in his late fifties. In 1955, he was appointed director of the National Public Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and professor of Literature at the University of ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.''
    Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinean author. "A New Refutation of Time," Labyrinths (1964).
  • Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the f...
    Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. "A New Refutation of Time," Labyrinths (1964).
  • ''One concept corrupts and confuses the others. I am not speaking of the Evil whose limited sphere is ethics; I am speaking of the infinite.''
    Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. repr. In Other Inquisitions (1960, trans. 1964). Avatars of the Tortoise (1939).
  • ''There is a concept that is the corrupter and destroyer of all others. I speak not of Evil, whose limited empire is that of ethics; I speak of the infinite.''
    Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. "Avatars of the Tortoise" ["Avatares de la tortuga"], Discussion [Discusión] (1932).
  • ''The flattery of posterity is not worth much more than contemporary flattery, which is worth nothing.''
    Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. "Dead Men's Dialogue," Dreamtigers (1964).
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Comments about Jorge Luis Borges

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  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/4/2016 8:34:00 AM)

    Jorge Luis Borges belonged to a notable Argentine family in Buenos Aires who had British ancestors. He learned English before he could speak Spanish. Literature was enrooted in him at an early age when he started reading books from his father’s library and decided to make a career in literature when he grew up. In 1914, Borges travelled to Geneva where he earned a B.A. degree from the Collge de Genve. He travelled more to Majorca and mainland Spain where he joined the Ultraist movement before returning to Buenos Aires in 1921. Upon discovering the beauty of his city with a newfound vision, Borges began writing poems in the city’s praise producing his first publication which was a volume of poems entitled Fervor de Buenos Aires, poemas (1923) . Not looking back, Borges published several more volumes of poems, essays and a biography Evaristo Carriego (1930) .

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/4/2016 8:32:00 AM)

    Borges then moved on to writing fiction publishing Historia universal de la infamia in 1935. In 1938, he was appointed at a key post in the Buenos Aires library where he would spend nine years, never happy or satisfied with the work he had to do. In 1978 Borges encountered a severe head injury which affected his speech. He lived for eight more years, losing the battle of life on June 14,1986 in Geneva, Switzerland. The eight years before his death proved to be the most productive in terms of Borges’ literary career. He wrote his best stories, later collected in Ficciones and a volume of English translations The Aleph and Other Stories (1933–69) . Borges also wrote some detective stories in collaboration with another writer under the pseudonym H. Bustos Domecq. The detective stories entitled 'Seis problemas para Don Isidro Parodi' were published in 1942.

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (12/15/2015 12:38:00 PM)

    another poem by Jorge Luis Borges:

    Borges and I

    The other one, Borges, is the one to whom things happen. I wander through Buenos Aires, and pause, perhaps mechanically nowadays, to gaze at an entrance archway and its metal gate; I hear about Borges via the mail, and read his name on a list of professors or in some biographical dictionary. I enjoy hourglasses, maps, eighteenth century typography, etymology, the savour of coffee and Stevenson’s prose: the other shares my preferences but in a vain way that transforms them to an actor’s props. It would be an exaggeration to say that our relationship is hostile; I live, I keep on living, so that Borges can weave his literature, and that literature justifies me. It’s no pain to confess that certain of his pages are valid, but those pages can’t save me, perhaps because good writing belongs to no one, not even the other, but only to language and tradition. For the rest, I am destined to vanish, definitively, and only some aspect of me can survive in the other. Little by little, I will yield all to him, even though his perverse habit of falsifying and exaggerating is clear to me. Spinoza understood that all things want to go on being themselves; the stone eternally wishes to be stone, and the tiger a tiger. I am forced to survive as Borges, not myself (if I am a self) , yet I recognise myself less in his books than in many others, less too than in the studious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him, and passed from suburban mythologies to games of time and infinity, but now those are Borges’ games and I will have to think of something new. Thus my life is a flight and I will lose all and all will belong to oblivion, or to that other.
    I do not know which of us is writing this page.

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (12/4/2015 11:27:00 AM)

    Los Borges

    Nada o muy poco sé de mis mayores
    portugueses, los Borges: vaga gente
    que prosigue en mi carne, oscuramente,
    sus hábitos, rigores y temores.

    Tenues como si nunca hubieran sido
    y ajenos a los trámites del arte,
    indescifrablemente forman parte
    del tiempo, de la tierra y del olvido.

    Mejor así. Cumplida la faena,
    son Portugal, son la famosa gente
    que forzó las murallas del Oriente

    y se dio al mar y al otro mar de arena.
    Son el rey que en el místico desierto
    se perdió y el que jura que no ha muerto.

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (12/4/2015 11:22:00 AM)

    Jorge Luis Borges

    Nació en Buenos Aires (Argentina) el 24 de agosto de 1899, siendo llamado Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo. Era hijo de Jorge Guillermo Borges, abogado y profesor de psicología, y de la traductora de inglés Leonor Acevedo Suárez.

    Aprendió simultáneamente a hablar castellano e inglés, lo que le permitió traducir a Oscar Wilde, a la precoz edad de diez años.
    Se inició en sus primeras letras en Argentina y continuó sus estudios en Suiza. Vivió temporalmente en España, donde se relacionó con escritores ultraístas (movimiento literario que propugnaba la ruptura con el pasado, y la expresión con abundancia de metáforas) . Regresó a Argentina en 1921, participando en la fundación de varias publicaciones literarias y filosóficas, comoPrisma (1921-1922): Proa (1922-1926) y Martín Fierro.
    A pesar de haberse educado en Europa, trató temas propios de su país natal, en poemarios como Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923): Luna de enfrente (1925) y Cuaderno de San Martín (1929) . Además compuso letras de tangos y milongas.
    Su obra, que incluye poesía, ensayo y narrativa, es de alto contenido metafísico, fantástico y subjetivo. No es de fácil comprensión para el lector, ya que sus escritos reflejan, según el propio Borges, su propia confusión y el respetado sistema de confusiones que llamamos filosofía, en forma de literatura. En sus letras, se mezcla la realidad con la fantasía, teniendo como protagonistas principales a soldados, gauchos y figuras históricas. Su poesía, caracterizada por una sobrevaloración de la metáfora se expresa en Discusión (1932): Poemas (1943): Ficciones (1944) y El Aleph (1949) .
    En cuanto a sus ideas políticas, se opuso al peronismo, al que calificó de dictatorial, lo que determinó que debiera abandonar su cargo en la Biblioteca Nacional de Buenos Aires, en el que se desempeñó entre 1938 y 1947.
    En 1950, es elegido presidente de la SADE, y un año después edita en México, en coautoría con Delia Ingenieros, Antiguas Literaturas Germánicas.
    Alejado Perón del poder, pudo ocupar en 1955, el cargo de Director de la Biblioteca Nacional hasta 1973.
    Jorge Luis Borges
    A partir de 1955 fue profesor de Literatura Inglesa en la Universidad de Buenos Aires, abandonando en esa época paulatinamente la poesía para escribir afamados cuentos.
    De esta época datan El hacedor (1960) , El informe de Brodie (1970) , El oro de los tigres (1972) , El libro de arena (1975) y Libro de sueños (1976) .
    A pesar de que nunca recibió el Premio Nobel de Literatura, obtuvo importantes distinciones como el Premio Nacional de Literatura en 1957, el Internacional de Editores en 1961, el Formentor, que compartió con Samuel Beckett en 1969, el Cervantes, que le fuera otorgado junto a Gerardo Diego en 1979 y el Balzán en 1980. El gobierno español lo condecoró, en 1983, con la Gran Cruz de la Orden de Alfonso X, el Sabio.
    Condenó severamente los horrores cometidos durante la dictadura militar, apoyando a las Abuelas y Madres de Plaza de Mayo, al firmar, en 1980, una solicitada en el diario Clarín, por los desaparecidos. Se opuso a la Guerra de Malvinas, a la que consideró un intento de los militares para perpetuarse en el poder.
    Murió en Ginebra (Suiza) , el 14 de junio de 1986, a causa de cáncer hepático. Estaba acompañado de su segunda esposa, María Kodama, con quien contrajo enlace casi en su lecho de muerte. Fue un símbolo de gratitud por haberlo cuidado en sus últimos años, en los que no podía valerse por sí mismo a causa de sus problemas generales de salud sumados a una ceguera progresiva que lo afectó desde su juventud

  • West Phalen (3/26/2013 7:59:00 PM)

    Laberinto

    No habrá nunca una puerta. Estás adentro
    y el alcázar abarca el universo
    y no tiene ni anverso ni reverso
    ni externo muro ni secreto centro.
    No esperes que el rigor de tu camino
    que tercamente se birufca en otro,
    que tercamente se bifurca en otro,
    tendrá fin. Es de hierro tu destino
    como tu juez. No aguardes la embestida
    del toro que es un hombre y cuya extraña
    forma plural da horror a la maraña
    de interminable piedra entretejida.
    No existe. Nada esperes. Ni siquiera
    en el negro crepúsculo la fiera.

    JLB (Elogio de la sombra) .

  • Agustin Navarro (11/6/2011 10:45:00 PM)

    Instants...my favorite poem related to the enjoyment of life...the original Spanish version is superb! ! It is one of the best jewels of philosophical poetry...a wonderful and practical lesson for all...

    Agustin Navarro

  • Jessie Bernabe Cadsawan (8/19/2009 8:03:00 PM)

    The Moment

    Where will they be the centuries, where the sleep
    of swords that the Tartar ones dreamed,
    where the strong walls that they levelled,
    where Adán's Tree and another Log?
    The present is alone. The memory
    it erects the time. Succession and trick
    it is the routine of the clock. The year
    it is not less vain than the vain history.
    Between the dawn and the night there is an abyss
    of agonies, of lights, of taken care;
    the face that looks in the worn-out ones
    the same is not mirrors of the night.
    The fleeting today is tenuous and it is eternal;
    another Sky do not wait, not another Hell.

    A clear vision of changes.

  • April Krygowski (8/22/2007 8:35:00 AM)

    What are lime beans? Lima, as in the cap of Peru? ? What's with the Spanish comments? I hope this site will remain in English. Does the one comment say that this was not written by Borges? If a comment is in another language, it would be helpful for a translation to be provided. Also is the THATS a typo or a poor translator?

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Best Poem of Jorge Luis Borges

Instants

If I could live again my life,
In the next - I'll try,
- to make more mistakes,
I won't try to be so perfect,
I'll be more relaxed,
I'll be more full - than I am now,
In fact, I'll take fewer things seriously,
I'll be less hygenic,
I'll take more risks,
I'll take more trips,
I'll watch more sunsets,
I'll climb more mountains,
I'll swim more rivers,
I'll go to more places - I've never been,
I'll eat more ice creams and less (lime) beans,
I'll have more real problems - and less imaginary
ones,
I was one of those people who live
prudent and ...

Read the full of Instants

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