Category Archives: Borges


As a small boy, whenever I saw myself reflected in a large mirror, I felt all the horror of the wraith-like doubling or multiplication of reality. Mirrors, with their never-failing mimicry, their pursuit of each of my movements, their pantomime of the world, seemed eerie to me. If a mirror hangs in a room, I can no longer be alone there: someone else is present. God created the forms of the mirror to show man that he is but a reflection, that all is vanity; this is why mirrors frighten us.



Which one of us has never felt, walking through the twilight or writing down a date from his past, that he has lost something infinite?

— Borges (via here)

I dream of a mirror. I see myself with a mask, or I see in the mirror somebody who is me but whom I do not recognize as myself. I arrive at a place, and I have the sense of being lost and that all is horrible. The place itself is like any other. It is a room, with furniture, and its appearance is not horrible. What is atrocious is the feeling, not the images. Another frequent nightmare is of being attacked by beings who are children; there are many of them, very little but strong. I try to defend myself, but the blows I give are weak.


I haven’t arrived at anything. I am just a man of letters. I am not sure I have thought anything in my life. I am a weaver of dreams.


Borges and I

The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to. I walk through the streets of Buenos Aires and stop for a moment, perhaps mechanically now, to look at the arch of an entrance hall and the grillwork on the gate; I know of Borges from the mail and see his name on a list of professors or in a biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typography, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; he shares these preferences, but in a vain way that turns them into the attributes of an actor. It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me. It is no effort for me to confess that he has achieved some valid pages, but those pages cannot save me, perhaps because what is good belongs to no one, not even to him, but rather to the language and to tradition. Besides, I am destined to perish, definitively, and only some instant of myself can survive in him. Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things. Spinoza knew that all things long to persist in their being; the stone eternally wants to be a stone and the tiger a tiger. I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or in the laborious strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him and went from the mythologies of the suburbs to the games with time and infinity, but those games belong to Borges now and I shall have to imagine other things. Thus my life is a flight and I lose everything and everything belongs to oblivion, or to him.
I do not know which of us has written this page.

— Borges, ‘Borges and I’ (trans. J. Irby)