Quotes from book
Ficciones

Ficciones
Jorge Luis BorgesOriginal title Ficciones (Spanish, 1944)

Fictions is the most popular collection of short stories by Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges, produced between 1941 and 1956. The English translation of Fictions was published in 1962, the same year as Labyrinths, a separate compilation of Borges's translated works. The two volumes lifted Borges to worldwide literary fame in the 1960s and several stories feature in both. "The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim" originally appeared published in History of Eternity .


Jorge Luis Borges photo

„On the floor, and hanging on to the bar, squatted an old man, immobile as an object. His years had reduced and polished him as water does a stone or the generations of men do a sentence. He was dark, dried up, diminutive, and seemed outside time, situated in eternity.“

—  Jorge Luis Borges, book Ficciones

"The South". Cf. "The Man on the Threshold", in The Aleph (1949)
tr. Andrew Hurley, Collected Fictions (1998)
Ficciones (1944)
Variant: On the floor, curled against the bar, lay an old man, as motionless as an object. The many years had worn him away and polished him, as a stone is worn smooth by running water or a saying is polished by generations of mankind.

Jorge Luis Borges photo

„Like every writer, he measured the virtues of other writers by their performance, and asked that they measure him by what he conjectured or planned.“

—  Jorge Luis Borges, book Ficciones

"The Secret Miracle"; Variant: Like all writers, he measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.
Source: Ficciones (1944)

Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo

„The time for your labor has been granted.“

—  Jorge Luis Borges, book Ficciones

"The Secret Miracle"
Ficciones (1944)

Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo

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

—  Jorge Luis Borges, book Ficciones

"The Form of the Sword"
Ficciones (1944)
Context: What one man does is something done, in some measure, by all men. For that reason a disobedience committed in a garden contaminates the human race; for that reason it is not unjust that the crucifixion of a single Jew suffices to save it.

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Jorge Luis Borges photo

„You will reply that reality hasn't the slightest need to be of interest. And I'll answer you that reality may avoid the obligation to be interesting, but that hypotheses may not.“

—  Jorge Luis Borges, book Ficciones

"Death and the Compass"
Ficciones (1944)
Context: "It's possible, but not interesting," Lonnrot answered. "You will reply that reality hasn't the slightest need to be of interest. And I'll answer you that reality may avoid the obligation to be interesting, but that hypotheses may not. In the hypothesis you have postulated, chance intervenes largely. Here lies a dead rabbi; I should prefer a purely rabbinical explanation; not the imaginary mischances of an imaginary robber."

Jorge Luis Borges photo

„A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships“

—  Jorge Luis Borges, book Ficciones

"Note on (toward) Bernard Shaw" ["Nota sobre (hacia) Bernard Shaw"] (1951)
Other Inquisitions (1952)
Source: Ficciones
Context: 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 photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo
Jorge Luis Borges photo

„If Dahlmann was without hope, he was also without fear.“

—  Jorge Luis Borges, book Ficciones

"The South"
Ficciones (1944)
Context: If Dahlmann was without hope, he was also without fear. As he crossed the threshold, he felt that to die in a knife fight, under the open sky, and going forward to the attack, would have been a liberation, a joy, and a festive occasion, on the first night in the sanitarium, when they stuck him with the needle. He felt that if he had been able to choose, then, or to dream his death, this would have been the death he would have chosen or dreamt. Firmly clutching his knife, which he perhaps would not know how to wield, Dahlmann went out into the plain.

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