Jorge Luis Borges
This nOde last updated September 5th, 2003 and is permanently morphing...
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Borges, Jorge Luis
Argentinian writer particularly known for his short stories, which have a metaphysical, fantastic quality.
Borges, Jorge Luis
Borges, Jorge Luis (bôr´hâs), 1899-1986, Argentine poet, critic, and short-story writer. Perhaps the foremost contemporary Spanish-American author, he wrote his early poetry, beginning with Fervor of Buenos Aires (1923), under the influence of ultraísmo, a movement for pure poetry that followed MODERNISMO. He was director of the National Library and professor of English at the Univ. of Buenos Aires. His imaginative poetry is collected in Selected Poems: 1923-1967 (1967). His philosophical and literary essays appear in such collections as Other Inquisitions (1952). He is known for his original short fiction, e.g., A Universal History of Infamy (1935), Ficciones (1944), The Book Of Imaginary Beings (1957), and The Book of Sand (1975).
is that we live out our lives putting off all that can be put off; perhaps
we all know deep down that we are immortal
and that sooner or later all men will do and know all things.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Labyrinths, "Funes the Memorious" (1964).
Every writer "creates" his
own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will
modify the future.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Kafka and his Precursors (1951; repr. in Other Inquisitions, 1960; tr. 1964).
To fall in love is to create
a religion that has a fallible god.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Other Inquisitions, "The Meeting in a Dream" (1952).
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. Avatars Of The Tortoise (1939; repr. in Other Inquisitions, 1960; tr. 1964).
Life itself is a quotation.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentinian author. Heard by Jean Baudrillard at a lecture given in Paris. Quoted in: Baudrillard, Cool Memories, ch. 5 (1987; tr. 1990).
I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars. - Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentine surrealist, had the interesting idea that a species could not enter hyperspace, whatever that means, until the last member of that species perished. What's happening is that vast numbers of souls are accumulating in another dimension, waiting for us to decently depart this mortal coil so that the human family can find itself at play in the fields of the lord....
- Terence McKenna
"There is a very interesting story by Jorge Luis Borges called _The Sect of the Phoenix_. Allow me to recapitulate. Borges starts out by writing: "There is no human group in which members of the sect do not appear. It is also true that there is no persecution or rigor they have not suffered and perpetrated." He continues, "The rite is the only religious practice observed by the sectarians. The rite constitutes the Secret. This Secret... is transmitted from generation to generation. The act in itself is trivial, momentary, and requires no description. The Secret is sacred, but is always somewhat ridiculous; its performance is furtive and the adept do not speak of it. There are no decent words to name it, but it is understood that all words name it or rather inevitably allude to it." Borges never explicityly says what the Secret is, but if one knows his other story, _The Aleph_, one can put these two together and realize that the Aleph is the experience of the Secret of the Cult of the Phoenix."
"What fascinates me about
Manuscript_, above and beyond the historical puzzle
and above and beyond how interesting it would be to know what it actually
says, is the idea of an unreadable book. It is a kind of Borgesian
concept that there must be, somewhere, an unreadable book, and perhaps
this is it. The unreadable book hints at the idea that the world
We have cognizance of the world by ordering all the information we come
upon in relation to information that we have already accumulated - through
patterns. An unreadable book in a non-English script, with no dictionary
attached, is very puzzling.
We become like linguistic oysters, we secrete around it, we encyst it into
our metaphysic. But we don't know what it says, which always carries
with it the possibility that it says something that would unhinge our concepts
of things or that its real message is its unreadability. It points
to the Otherness of the nature of information, and is what is called in
structrualism a "limit text."
- Terence McKenna - _Archaic Revival_
The "author" of literary metafiction is presumed to be the sheer intertextual conjunction of other books, or perhaps an arbitrary language game, like the combinatory that generates the books in Borges' Library of Babel. By claiming origin in pure formal systems, metafiction denies that it is a product of a given society, let alone of an individual author.
- _The Internet Oracle_
We're looking at these creative records here, in this hypothetical crate of records. You ever read Umberto Ecco or--what's the writer from South America? Borges! Most of their narrative structures are again hypertext--where the surface narrative is a shimmering kind of mirage and you fall into it. Sound is like that. I was trying to deal with that with my sound.
- Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky
track _Ajedrez I y II (Chess I and II) for voice and piano_ by Juan María Solare (1986)
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 fire. -- Jorge Luis Borges
character Jorge de Burgos played by Feodor Chaliapin, Jr. in the film _The Name Of The Rose_ (vhs/ntsc)
The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries, with vast air shafts between, surrounded by very low railings. From any of the hexagons one can see, interminably, the upper and lower floors. The distribution of the galleries is invariable. Twenty shelves, five long shelves per side, cover all the sides except two; their height, which is the distance from floor to ceiling, scarcely exceeds that of a normal bookcase. One of the free sides leads to a narrow hallway which opens onto another gallery, identical to the first and to all the rest. To the left and right of the hallway there are two very small closets. In the first, one may sleep standing up; in the other, satisfy one's fecal necessities. Also through here passes a spiral stairway, which sinks abysmally and soars upwards to remote distances. In the hallway there is a mirror which faithfully duplicates all appearances. Men usually infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite (if it were, why this illusory duplication?); I prefer to dream that its polished surfaces represent and promise the infinite ... Light is provided by some spherical fruit which bear the name of lamps. There are two, transversally placed, in each hexagon. The light they emit is insufficient, incessant.
- Jorge Luis Borges, _The Library Of Babel_
I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia. The mirror troubled the depths of a corridor in a country house on Gaona Street in Ramos Mejia; the encyclopedia is fallaciously called The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia (New York, 1917) and is a literal but delinquent reprint of the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1902. The event took place some five years ago. Bioy Casares had had dinner with me that evening and we became lengthily engaged in a vast polemic concerning the composition of a novel in the first person, whose narrator would omit or disfigure the facts and indulge in various contradictions which would permit a few readers - very few readers - to perceive an atrocious or banal reality. From the remote depths of the corridor, the mirror spied upon us. We discovered (such a discovery is inevitable in the late hours of the night) that mirrors hare something monstrous about them. Then Bioy Casares recalled that one of the heresiarchs of Uqbar had declared that mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number or men. I asked him the origin of this memorable observation and he answered that it was reproduced in The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia, in its article on Uqbar. The house (which we had rented furnished) had a set of this work. On the last pages of Volume XLVI we found an article on Upsala; on the first pages of Volume XLVII, one on Ural-Altaic Languages, but not a word about Uqbar. Bioy, a bit taken aback, consulted the volumes of the index. In vain he exhausted all of the imaginable spellings: Ukbar, Ucbar, Ooqbar, Ookbar, Oukbahr... Before leaving, he told me that it was a region of Iraq of or Asia Minor. I must confess that I agreed with some discomfort. I conjectured that this undocumented country and its anonymous heresiarch were a fiction devised by Bioy's modesty in order to justify a statement. The fruitless examination of one of Justus Perthes' atlases fortified my doubt.
- Jorge Luis Borges, Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius