Vol. 7 (2021): post(s)

Semblanza absolutamente exacta: mapas y medios en Borges y Royce

John Durham Peters

Publicado 2021-12-13

Palabras clave

  • Josiah Royce,
  • literatura,
  • Borges,
  • mapas y medios

Cómo citar

Peters, J., & Burgos, H. (2021). Semblanza absolutamente exacta: mapas y medios en Borges y Royce. Post(s), 7(1), 134–153. https://doi.org/10.18272/post(s).v7i7.2528


Josiah Royce, the American idealist philosopher (1855-1916), is best known to readers of Borges in connection with a recursive map-within-a-map drawn upon the soil of England. Indeed, Borges ranks "‹"‹"el mapa de Royce" side-by-side with his beloved Zeno´´´ s  paradox in "Otro poema de los dones" (336), a Whitmanesque catalog of a few of his favorite things. Borges appreciated Royce as a fellow-wanderer through the late nineteenth-century thickets of both Anglo-American idealism and the new mathematics of transfinite numbers. Royce was not so much an influence on Borges as a fellow traveler who had arrived in a somewhat similar place after passing through Berkeley, Schopenhauer, and Cantor.

After cataloging connections between the two thinkers and explicating Royce's map, I will suggest that both figures are theorists of infinity and metaphysicians of the copy who offer fertile suggestions to our understanding of media in general and maps in particular. Though Royce and Borges both can strike some readers as architects of suffocating idealistic structures, there is a difference. Royce thinks his figures of infinity really do disclose the truth about the universe. Borges sees in such figures the paradoxes and slippages involved in any project of perfect duplication, and his skepticism about philosophical representation is designed, ultimately, to provide oxygen and exit from totalitarian systems. In this I would view Borges as a follower of Royce's close friend, Harvard colleague and philosophical antagonist: William James.



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