Everything & Nothing

Idly playing around with a vague idea for a print this afternoon, the words seemed familiar.

Everything & Nothing.

First impression – badly paraphrasing Sartre?

Google to the rescue, in spite of having the book on my shelf. It was, of course, the title of a short piece by Borges – at one time a favourite of mine – on the mercurial, multifaceted nature of Shakespeare, but with a sly wink at us, the reader. A beautifully written meditation on the self, fantasy, the tale of tales. You know, Borges.


THERE was no one in him; behind his face (which even through the bad paintings of those times resembles no other) and his words, which were copious, fantastic and stormy, there was only a bit of coldness, a dream dreamt by no one. At first he thought that all people were like him, but the astonishment of a friend to whom he had begun to speak of this emptiness showed him his error and made him feel always that an individual should not differ in outward appearance. Once he thought that in books he would find a cure for his ill and thus he learned the small Latin and less Greek a contemporary would speak of; later he considered that what he sought might well be found in an elemental rite of humanity, and let himself be initiated by Anne Hathaway one long June afternoon. At the age of twenty-odd years he went to London. Instinctively he had already become proficient in the habit of simulating that he was someone, so that others would not discover his condition as no one…

Someone has kindly posted it in full online, but if Borges is your cup of tea, he reads more comfortably when removed from the lemon yellow confines of the proto-web, nestled among friends.

2 thoughts on “Everything & Nothing

  1. Was doing a Google-to-the-rescue search on “everything and nothing” and came across your post. I don’t know Borges, but I’m definitely going to look into him. Thanks!

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