Any one body
In 1985, at a conference on Espinoza, Jorge Luis Borges evoked one of Joseph Conrad’s novels, in which a navigator, who is the narrator, “sees something from the bow of his ship. A shadow, luminosity at the farthest corner of the horizon: the coast of Africa. Far beyond, there are sorts of fever, empires, the Sahara, big rivers explored by Stanley, Livingstone, and soon afterwards, the history of the Portuguese, the Dutch, the Zulus, the Bantus and
ruins and pyramids. In other words, a whole vast world. Made up of woods, leopards, birds.
About Espinoza, I can only say what the narrator of Conrad’s novel has said. He had a glimpse of something. He knows that that, which he glimpses at, is huge.”
Jorge Luis Borges was blind. Borges’s blindness was what he himself called “a slow twilight.” In 1955, he, who dreamed of Paradise as a kind of library, was appointed director of the National Library, in Buenos Aires. Right there, among nine hundred thousand books in several languages, he realized that he was no longer able to decipher anything but covers and jackets. He then wrote his “Poem of the Gifts”, which starts out with the verses: “May no one debase to tears or criticize / this ...