Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"The Library of Babel"by Jorge Luis Borges-Project 196- Argentina

"The Library of Babel"by Jorge Luis Borges (1941, 4 pages)

Project 196

Country 22 of 196
Juan Luis Borges

Argentina is home to one of the greatest of 20th century short story writers, Juan Luis Borges (1899 to 1886).   Among his very large literary output are a great many short stories often with a parable like feel.  One of the most famous is the very interesting philosophical fable, "The Library of Babel".  The "plot" of the story is the narrator's account of the structure of the universe which he sees as a vast set of interlocking hexagonal rooms, each of which contains four walls of bookshelves.  The majority of the books in the universe are just gibberish, random collections of letters and punctuation marks.   However, the library also contains not only every book that was ever written but everyone that could be written.   The library contains all possible information needed by humanity, but much of it is in unknown languages.   The library becomes subject to many diverse interpretations,  some think there is a "library man" who knows the catalog of all the books and there are various cults looking for him.  

There are a lot of philosophical and occult themes in this very densely written story.  I think anyone who takes the time to read it with any care will be stimulated and puzzled and quite possibly delighted.   It is also a satire on grandiose philosophical schemes so like much of Borges work, it is self referential.   

1 comment:

@parridhlantern said...

Borges, what can you say beyond this man's a genius, love his work.