Characters

  1. Jorge Luis Borges: An Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish-language and international literature.
  2. Robert Alifano: Argentine poet, narrator, essayist, and journalist.

Introduction

“I Believe That the Books Will Never Disappear” is a part of excerpts from “Twenty-Four Conversations with Borges”, interviews of Jorge Luis Borges by Roberto Alifano. Jorge Luis Borges is an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet, and translator. Here he talks about his early years of reading, his family, his blindness, books, poetry, metaphors, and literature. This is basically in the form of an interview where two men of literature get an opportunity to discuss various issues related to life and literature.

Borges’s famous works include varied concepts like dreams, libraries, mirrors, philosophy, religion, and God. As Alifano the person who interviewed Borges knew well the areas of his interest. He asked questions pertaining to the same. Alifano wanted to know the first great literary work that Borges had studied. As an answer to it, Borges explains his father’s library as he felt that the collection of books was so huge that he could gain a comprehensive knowledge of various subjects.

Summary

Jorge’s history

The extract brings out the opinions, feelings, and thoughts about literature. Jorges expresses to Alifano that his first literary reading was “Grimm’s Fairy tales”. He was educated by his father’s library, more than a university. He expressed that his mother was very kind to him but he realized her importance only after her death.

Though he was blind, he took it positively. As an artist, he used it as raw material for his creative art. He positively says that humiliations and misfortunes and embarrassments are the stepping stones to achieving our success in life. His blindness was not an obstacle for him, and even though blind, he buys books and works on them. He argues on the culture or fashion that we should not leave our tradition and blindly follow others.

Jorge’s belief about books

He believes that books are sacred and magical, in bringing happiness when we read them. The interviewer gets positive answers from Borges about writing a ‘book on the history of books’ that even at the age of 83 he wants to start the book though it may be incomplete, he would get the satisfaction of trying to write the book.

Borges describes poetry and tells Alifano that poetry is an intimate and aesthetic art and poetry cannot be simplified in order to describe it. Poetry is much legible and gets appreciated by all. Precise words in order are used to compose the best poetry and metaphors are very essential and important to write poetry.

The writer also believes that literature extends our imagination and boosts our memory. Finally, he also opines that the function of books can’t be replaced by other things and if they disappear from the world nothing could sustain.

Conclusion

Literature, as Borges views is a dream, a controlled dream. He owes literature almost everything we are and what we have been and what we will be. Our past is nothing but a sequence of dreams. He says that books are the great memory of all centuries. Their function is irreplaceable. If books disappear, history would disappear and man would disappear.

Literature is the treasure house of mankind’s glorious past. When we read an ancient book, it is as if we were reading all about the time that has passed since the day it was written to the present day. Literature is something sacred, something mortal, and something magical which brings happiness.

Literature reflects past life and leads mankind to live better. Literature is important, for it is an extension of our imagination and memory. Every human society preserves its rich history of literature as it guides generations to create a much better civilization.