20 Fantastic Phrases by Jorge Luis Borges

· September 21, 2015

Jorge Luis Borges has left us many wonderful phrases and passages in his extensive body of work. This Argentinean writer leaves us bewildered even now and, of course, will continue doing so because he is timeless. He was a lover of the story but not so much the novel: “He didn’t like [the novel]. He would say that, all of a sudden, mugs of tea, ladies’ hats and other things would appear, just to fill the space. The story, on the other hand, was made for tension, like an arrow aimed at the target.”

Borges was never bound by the trending idea of the moment. What he valued could not be rewarded with a Nobel Prize in Literature, though in the eyes of many he was very deserving of one. On one occasion, a reporter asked him, “Why do you think you haven’t been given the Nobel Prize in Literature?” He responded, “Swedish wisdom.” On another occasion, he said, “I will always be the future Nobel winner. It must be a Scandinavian tradition.”

Today, we want to remember his grandeur by giving you twenty brilliant phrases that reflect Borges’ depth of feeling and mastery of his craft.

1 –  I don’t speak of vengeance, nor of forgiving; forgetting is the only revenge and the only forgiveness. 

2 – I have committed the worst sin that a man could commit. I have not been happy. 

3 – Some defeats have more dignity than victory. 

4 – Of all the instruments of man, the most astonishing is, without a doubt, the book. The rest are extensions of the body. The microscope and the telescope are extensions of our sight; the telephone is an extension of our voice; then we have the plow and the sword, extensions of our arms. But the book is something else: the book is an extension of our memory and our imagination. 

5 – Any destiny, no matter how long or complicated it may be, is made up of the reality of one sole moment: the moment a man knows who he is forever. 

6 – One grows up from what he reads, not what he writes. 


7 – One is in love when one realizes that the other is one-of-a-kind. 

8 – That which has passed is all we truly own. 

9 – I have suspected that the only thing free from mystery is happiness, because it justifies itself all by itself. 

10 – Maybe, when a man is in love, he is never wrong. Maybe, those who are not in love are those who are wrong. 

borges

11 – I believe that, with time, we will deserve to not have government. 

12 – I have always felt that there is something about Buenos Aires that I like. I like very much that I don’t like what other people like. 

13 – There is no greater comfort than the thought that we have chosen our own misfortunes. 

14 – Before, the distances were greater, because the space was measured by time. 

15 – I have always imagined that Paradise would be some kind of library. 

16 – I am alone, and there is no one in the mirror. 

17 – You are not ambitious; You are content with being happy. 

18 – I believe that a game must be invented in which nobody wins. 

19 – The burden of the past is infinite. 

20 – Blindness is a form of solitude. 

If you are interested in learning more about Borges, the following is a documentary about his life and work. 

His passion for the short story left us with masterful works in a genre that most of us abandon when we grow up. Here’s a list of his most well-known stories.

  1. The Aleph
  2. The Secret Miracle 
  3. The Circular Ruins 
  4. Ulrike
  5. Funes the Memorious 
  6. The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths 
  7. The House of Asterion 
  8. Doctor Brodie’s Report 
  9. The South 
  10. Man on Pink Corner