Two aesthetics exist: the passive aesthetic of mirrors and the active aesthetic of prisms. Guided by the former, art turns into a copy of the environment's objectivity or the individual's psychic history. Guided by the latter, art is redeemed, makes the world into its instrument, and forges – beyond spatial and temporal prisons – a personal vision.
Art as a copy of the environment's objectivity or the indivudal's pyschic history — that's realism. Art that forges a personal vision, refractions and all — that's Borges.
I heard Latin American fiction scholar Jill Levine read aloud this excerpt in her conversation with Colin Marshall on the Marketplace of Ideas podcast.
I was chatting on the phone the other day with a friend, and he said this: "The very best art and fiction is more powerful than the very best non-fiction. Average non-fiction is more powerful than average fiction."