For all the differences between their literary projects, James Joyce and Jorge Luis Borges are connected not only through Borges's sustained interest in Joyce's work, but also through a shared concern with total systems of knowledge. Both authors are skeptical of such systems; yet both also betray a deeply ingrained fascination with the idea. This is particularly apparent in scenes from their work featuring acts of reading, such as the discussion about Shakespeare or the apparition of Rudy's ghost in Ulysses, or several of Borges's short narratives. Both Joyce and Borges insist on the uncanny attraction that totality has even for wary readers, as well as on totality's self-defeating aspects, which introduce into the process of reading a certain sense of loss in a manner reminiscent of Derrida's thinking on spectrality.