The Library of Babel


library of babel

 

A surrealist short story by Jorge Luis Borges about a universe that entirely consists of libraries.

Read the full story in The Critical Point.

 

Excerpt:

 

Some five hundred years ago, the chief of one of the upper hexagon came across a book as jumbled as all the others, but containing almost two pages of homogeneous lines. He showed his find to a traveling decipherer, who told him that the lines were written in Portuguese; others said it was Yiddish. Within the century experts had determined what the language actually was: a Samoyed-Lithuanian dialect of Guarani, with inflections from classical Arabic. The content was also determined: the rudiments of combinatory analysis, illustrated with examples of endlessly repeating variations. Those examples allowed a librarian of genius to discover the fundamental law of the Library.

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