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Judge All These in a Room Together

Being aware of the history of literature—or of any other art, for that matter—is really a form of unbelieving, a form of skepticism. If I say to my self, for example, that Wordsworth and Verlaine were very good nineteenth-century poets, then I may fall into the danger of thinking that time has some how destroyed them, that they are not as good now as they were. I think the ancient idea—that we might allow perfection to art without taking into account the dates—was a braver one.

—Jorge Luis Borges, “A Poet’s Creed”

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