20+ quotes from Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

Quotes from Collected Fictions

Jorge Luis Borges ·  565 pages

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“I have no way of knowing whether the events that I am about to narrate are effects or causes.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“To say good-bye is to deny separation; it is to say Today we play at going our own ways, but we'll see each other tomorrow. Men invented farewells because they somehow knew themselves to be immortal, even while seeing themselves as contingent and ephemeral.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“He consorted with prostitutes and poets...and with persons even worse.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“Then he reflected that reality does not usually coincide with our anticipation of it; with a logic of his own he inferred that to forsee a circumstantial detail is to prevent its happening. Trusting in this weak magic, he invented, so that they would not happen, the most gruesome details.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“Days and nights passed over this despair of flesh, but one morning he awoke, looked (with calm now) at the blurred things that lay about him, and felt, inexplicably, the way one might feel upon recognizing a melody or a voice, that all this had happened to him before and that he had faced it with fear but also with joy and hopefulness and curiosity. Then he descended into his memory, which seemed to him endless, and managed to draw up from that vertigo the lost remembrance that gleamed like a coin in the rain - perhaps because he had never really looked at it except (perhaps) in a dream.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“It also occurred to him that throughout history, humankind has told two stories: the story of a lost ship sailing the Mediterranean seas in quest of a beloved isle, and the story of a god who allows himself to be crucified on Golgotha.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures. In one of them I am your enemy.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“As the end approaches, there are no longer any images from memory - there are only words.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“A: Absorbed in our discussion of immortality, we had let night fall without lighting the lamp, and we couldn't see each other's faces. With an offhandedness or gentleness more convincing than passion would have been, Macedonio Fernandez' voice said once more that the soul is immortal. He assured me that the death of the body is altogether insignificant, and that dying has to be the most unimportant thing that can happen to a man. I was playing with Macedonio's pocketknife, opening and closing it. A nearby accordion was infinitely dispatching La Comparsita, that dismaying trifle that so many people like because it's been misrepresented to them as being old... I suggested to Macedonio that we kill ourselves, so we might have our discussion without all that racket.
Z: (mockingly) But I suspect that at the last moment you reconsidered.
A: (now deep in mysticism) Quite frankly, I don't remember whether we committed suicide that night or not.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“Whoever would undertake some atrocious enterprise should act as if it were already accomplished should impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“The truth is that we all live by leaving behind; no doubt we all profoundly know that we are immortal and that sooner or later every man will do all things and know everything.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“So my life is a point-counterpoint, a kind of fugue, and a falling away–and everything winds up being lost to me, and everything falls into oblivion, or into the hands of the other man.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“Sometimes a few birds, a horse, have saved the ruins of an amphitheater.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“My memory, sir, is like a garbage disposal.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“Reality is partial to symmetry and slight anachronisms”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“Upstream, Arkansas and Ohio have their bottomlands, too, populated by a jaundiced and hungry-looking race, prone to fevers, whose eyes gleam at the sight of stone and iron, for they know only sand and driftwood and muddy water.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“All our lives we postpone everything that can be postponed; perhaps we all have the certainty, deep inside, that we are immortal and sooner or later every man will do everything, know all there is to know.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“This web of time–the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other through the centuries–embraces every possibility. We do not exist in most of them. In some you exist and not I, while in others I do, and you do not, and yet in others both of us exist. In this one, in which chance has favored me, you have come to my gate. In another, you, crossing the garden, have found me dead. In yet another, I say these very same words but am in error, a phantom Time is forever dividing itself toward innumerable futures."

from “Garden of Forking Paths”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“Comprendí que el trabajo del poeta no estaba en la poesía; estaba en la invención de razones para que la poesía fuera admirable;”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

“There are systems upon systems that are incredible but possessed of a pleasing architecture or a certain agreeable sensationalism. The metaphysicians of Tlön seek not truth, or even plausibility - they seek to amaze, astound. In their view, metaphysics is a branch of the literature of fantasy. They know a system is naught but the subordination of all the aspects of the universe to one of those aspects - any one of them.”
― Jorge Luis Borges, quote from Collected Fictions

About the author

Jorge Luis Borges
Born place: in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Born date August 24, 1899
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