Monday, July 07, 2008

Abstract Nº89 (Or "The Library")

The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries, with vast air shafts between, surrounded by very low railings. From any of the hexagons one can see, interminably, the upper and lower floors. The distribution of the galleries is invariable. Twenty shelves, five long shelves per side, cover all the sides except two; their height, which is the distance from floor to ceiling, scarcely exceeds that of a normal bookcase. One of the free sides leads to a narrow hallway which opens onto another gallery, identical to the first and to all the rest. To the left and right of the hallway there are two very small closets. In the first, one may sleep standing up; in the other, satisfy one's fecal necessities. Also through here passes a spiral stairway, which sinks abysmally and soars upwards to remote distances. In the hallway there is a mirror which faithfully duplicates all appearances. Men usually infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite (if it were, why this illusory duplication?); I prefer to dream that its polished surfaces represent and promise the infinite ... Light is provided by some spherical fruit which bear the name of lamps. There are two, transversally placed, in each hexagon. The light they emit is insufficient, incessant.

Jorge Luis Borges, "The Library of Babel".


Will Doohan said...

Hmmm, I've never read any Jorge Luis Borges, but I've seen quotes from his work in books. Any particular ones you would recommend? I can add them to my ever-expanding library list. I may need to borrow that infinite library just to store the list itself soon though. ;-P

runnerfrog said...

Depends on what you like the most: stories or poems.
If stories: Fictions and Artifices, may be The Garden of Forking Paths. If poems, I think The Cypher, may The Conspirators (although both includes short stories). Or better: Everything.
An infinite library is a brilliant aberration he described in the Library of Babel.

Deb said...

Organized chaos.

runnerfrog said...

Chaotic Order. ;-)

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