Fiormichele Benigni

Notes on Spinoza and Borges

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Spinoza, Borges, Schopenhauer, Materialism, Idealism.

The image of Spinoza is always present in Borges’ work and it seems to embody the basic elements of his poetics: the dream dimension, the paradoxes of infinity and temporality, Judaism, the relationship with the divine, and so on. However, the Argentinian writer has always declared that he «doesn’t understand» Spinoza, although he was absolutely fascinated by him. The article aims to trace the presence of the Dutch philosopher in Borges’ entire production. It will focus on the relation among the attributes of Spinoza’s substance (which Borges reads in terms of ‘space’ and ‘time’). Subsequently, an explanation of that interpretation will be sought in a page of Borges’ most famous short story, Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. Finally, by studying the possible sources of Borges’ reading of Spinoza (of idealist inspiration), it will be shown that the Argentinian author was well aware of the philosopher’s materialism: that is, of the impossibility of giving a fully idealist reading of his system. And this explains why Borges «cannot understand» Spinoza.

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