Borges Library of Babel

The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries.

So begins the Library of Babel, a short story by Jorge Luis Borges.

I’ve heard of this story. I’ve read quotes from it. But I’ve never read the story fully until tonight. It took me a day to get through the full story though there are only seven pages.

I don’t think I have ever read such a densely compacted piece of work. This is one of those pieces of literature that stick with us.

Several hours after reading, I’m still going through it in an attempt to understand some of the symbols, numbers, the metaphor, the incredible amount of information packed into the work.

I don’t know how long it took him to create this story, but I’m guessing with the information contained, the planning that went into it… ??

Several years ago (I was a teenager then) my brother told me a story about a book that when read drove the individual to madness because it was so densely packed with ideas and mysteries that we crave the answers for, but can never know.

The book of course, promised the reader the answers, which it never gave.

This is such a story.

English language versions appeared in 1962 and since then people have read and attempted to decipher many of the ideas within. The wiki page (I’ve included the link above) gives several examples of such attempts.

This includes many attempts by artists to create an accurate rendition of the Library.

A must read. A profound experience. Incredible.


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