Jorge Luis Borges on the transformative power of art


“The task of art is to transform what is continuously happening to us, to transform all these things into symbols, into music, into something which can last in man’s memory… The work of a poet never ends. It has nothing to do with working hours.” — Jorge Luis Borges, speaking to Argentinian filmmaker German Kral.

In the same clip,* Kral, standing outside Borges’ apartment in 1998, recalls visiting the writer there many years before. “Borges, who had so intensely loved books and for whom literature was alive, advised us not to read any book we didn’t enjoy,” he says. “Reading it by force did no good to the book, the author or ourselves.”

*No longer available online as of November 2013.  See also Borges on Twain and conviction in writing, and the saddest Borges story.


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