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The Library of Babel

4.48 of 5 stars 4.48  ·  rating details  ·  2,621 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Jorge Luis Borges's famous 1941 meditation on language, alphabets, and the library that contains all knowledge is an allegory of our Universe, and in this edition is complemented and enhanced by the etching of the French artist, Erik Desmazi res.
Hardcover, 39 pages
Published August 1st 2000 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published 1956)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
In Borges's short story, the world consists of a gigantic library which contains every possible book that can ever be written. So, somewhere, there must logically be the book, the one that reveals the Library's secret! Unfortunately, there is no filing system, and no one has any idea of how to find the elusive book. In fact, it's challenging even to locate one which contains a meaningful sentence: most of them are gibberish from beginning to end.

Well, our own world isn't quite as bad - but it's
...more
Capsguy
Found this to be a great analogy to the world we live in. Everyone seems to have the answer to all of life's problems, but the issue is it's not so simple to sort through all of the variables when you have little to no means of measuring each option. That's pretty much how I read this short story, in life it is feasible to live the 'perfect' life, since the variables are there, however since there is no distinctive guide to do so, we are forced to do our best to sort through the gibberish (in th ...more
sckenda
“All books are the work of a single author who is timeless and anonymous.”

“Their fiction has but a single plot, with every imaginable permutation.”

-- Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

Jorge Luis Borges was a blind visionary of infinite imagination. My favorite Borges collection is “Ficciones” (“Fictions”), which consists of 17 short stories that Borges threads with fantasy, mysticism, Gnosticism and philosophy. Most of the stories are told in an intimate first-person point of view of the narrator (some
...more
Zeinab
دیده‌اید وقتی بعضی از داستان‌ها را می‌خوانید، همه‌شان در ذهن‌تان هویّت مشابهی دارند؟ مثلاً خیلی از داستان‌های مستور از نظر فضای داستان فرق زیادی با هم ندارند. یا هیچ کدام از آهنگ‌های آلبوم نیلوفرانۀ علیرضا افتخاری زیاد با هم فرق ندارند.

بورخس ولی، هر کدام از داستان‌هایش انگار برای خودشان شخصیّت و هویّت دارند. یعنی وقتی داستان تمام می‌شود، یک فضای مجزّا -هر چند مبهم- توی ذهن آدم برای آن داستان تشکیل شده‌است. و این فضا پر از خیال‌انگیزی‌هایی است که بورخس مثل نقل و نبات در متن داستان تعریف می‌کند و
...more
John Wiswell
Sep 19, 2007 John Wiswell rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Jorge Borges, fantasy readers, sci fi readers, anyone with an underappreciated imagination
Easily one of the strangest books I've ever read. I actually ordered it by accident, thinking it was an anthology. But actually this entire slender volume is devoted to one Borges short story, complete with beautiful etchings showing that his impossible library is actually possible. While it's not worth the cover price for everyone, anyone who dismissed his fictional library should flip through these pages and see that he wasn't writing flippantly. As "Library of Babel" was possibly Borges' most ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Collected fictions,
عنوان: «کتابخانه بابل، داستانهای تخیلی»؛ اثر: «خورخه‌لوئیس بورخس»؛ برگردان: «مانی صالحی‌علامه»، نشر: «تهران، بنگاه برگردان و نشر کتاب پارسه، ۱۳۹۲، در ۱۳۹ص، فروست: هزارتوهای بورخس، شابک: 9786002530660»؛ چاپ قبلی: «ماه‌ریز، ۱۳۸۰، در ۸۹ ص»؛ واژه‌نامه دارد؛ موضوع: داستان‌های آرژانتینی -- قرن ۲۰م

یادداشت: این کتاب برگردان یک داستان از مجموعه­ای تحت عنوان
«Collected fictions‎»
اس‍ت‌
Martyn
This is a fantastic and thought provoking book. I first heard of it while reading this essay by Christopher Rowe.

I know that Borges is really discussing the history, and completeness, of human knowledge but his essay, as Rowe suggests, has marked implications for those trying to create a universal library today. Such entities might include Google or Amazon, amongst others. The sheer futility of gathering every last letter of every last book that has ever existed, or that could possibly have exis
...more
David Lafferty
As a fan of Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose I knew that Borges and Joyce were required reading. This short story by Borges is brilliant and demands many more readings. His influence on Eco is clearly seen. Looking forward to reading more of his work, and then on to Joyce!
Rosianna
Anyone who loves books must read this short story. It's sensational, especially if you're philosophical!
Natalie
Sep 17, 2008 Natalie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: librarians
Borges's short piece (the entire text is approximately twenty pages) revolves around the conceit of the library as a metaphor for the universe; each room a hexagon lined on four sides with shelves, and then the librarian's quarters (all are librarians) and then the doorway into the next identical room. It is the same both up and down and on all sides, an infinite regression of rooms filled with books, an infinite amount of books, and the sum of the library containing every permutation of letters ...more
Marc
A short story yet vast in its attempt as an allegory of the universe. It explains man's endeavors at understanding the complexities of everything ever created, asking where and how and why our existence came about. The infinite hexagonal galleries signify how intense our universe is, and how it is expanding, both in the sense of space and of knowledge.

The library is said to contain everything that has ever been written, and everything that will be written, in all languages both dead and thriving
...more
Darthnixa
This work of pure beautiful imagination presents a world consisting of endless rooms, in which there are kept endless books. Books contain random letters, but every once in a while, one can find a book where, by pure chance, some of the random letters form a word. In this world, finding a book where every word makes sense, and even forms a story, is incredibly rare. These are the books our characters are after, but it can take lifetimes to find one, as the odds of such word compositions appearin ...more
Sixto Ortiz
Borges, en el poco tiempo que te he conocido (literariamente-hablando) me he sentido confundido, alegre, pensativo y hasta en ocasiones triste; impulsado principalmente con el fin de "encontrarle" el sentido a estas palabras, a estas combinaciones de frases y oraciones. Me fascinó la idea de Tïon, me enamoró "Las ruinas circulares", pero, fue ésta la que realmente hizo que entendiera la complejidad, pero, a la vez la sencillez del corazón literario de Borges. Utilizando la alegoría de una biblio ...more
Tania
this is incredible. an amazing story in picture book format. a beautiful book but impossible to find.
Kate
Nov 20, 2013 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the hexagonally-inclined
Recommended to Kate by: Feinberg
"The Library is a sphere whose exact center is any hexagon and whose circumference is unattainable."
Samane
Nov 12, 2008 Samane added it
a world without end
Amanda (Mature in Portuguese, but so Juvenile in English!
What if you had a library with an infinite amount of combinations between letters and numbers?

This library would have the following information:
- The secret of the Universe;
- The day of your death. And everyone else's. Including people that already died. Or haven't even been born.
- Justification for all your sins;
- EVERY FUCKING ANSWER FOR EVERY QUESTION IN OUR UNIVERSE. OR OTHER UNIVERSES, IF YOU ARE A MULTIVERSE BELIEVER.
- And a bunch of useless books, that would take forever to be distinguish
...more
Andrew John Pixton
From the On Mysticism compilation- A beautiful analogy of the universe, life, and/or divinity and how they relate to human nature. He created an interesting world, mimicking ours but unique in its own light. I'm wrapping myself up in all the possible meanings.

*Spoiler* The catalog of catalogs is the key to the universe and the librarian who read is God, having the key or full knowledge of the universe. Like the librarians, we are keepers of our universe and search for that grand librarian. Many
...more
Paulo Muller
http://www.presenca.pt/search.ud121?s...;
Títulos da Coleção: "A Biblioteca de Babel"

16.
O Crime de Lord Arthur Savile
O Crime de Lord Arthur Savile
e Outros Contos
Oscar Wilde
Coleção: A Biblioteca de Babel (nº 16)
15.
O Abutre
Franz Kafka
Coleção: A Biblioteca de Babel (nº 15)
14.
Contos Russos
Vários Autores
Coleção: A Biblioteca de Babel (nº 14)
13.
A Porta no Muro
H. G. Wells
Coleção: A Biblioteca de Babel (nº 13)
12.
A Ilha das Vozes
Robert Louis Stevenson
Coleção: A Biblioteca de Babel (nº 12)
11.
Bartleby, o Es
...more
Lynn
This week's book review is The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley. To start this off with I love Borges. If you have not read him FIX THAT NOW! I'm not kidding he is amazing. One of the best, if not the best, speculative fiction authors ever. The short story is only 17 pages long but that is more than enough for Borges. It has wonderful engravings by Erik Desamzieres. The story sounds simple enough. The world is a giant library. The author of the story is a travel ...more
Miquixote
A universe in the form of a vast library containing all possible 410-page books of a certain format.

twenty-five symbols (twenty-two letters, the space, the period, the comma), whose recombinations and repetitions encompass everything possible to express in all languages. The totality of such variations would form a Total Library of astronomical size.

infinity, reality, cabalistic reasoning, and labyrinths.

the view of the universe as a sphere having its center everywhere and its circumference n
...more
Antonio
Meh, a veces, Borges da la impresión de no entender bien los conceptos con los que juega. En general, cuando habla de matemáticas o física la caga.

22 símbolos alfabéticos + el espacio + la coma + el punto = 25 símbolos distintos

Asumiendo que estos símbolos funcionan distinto a los símbolos del lenguaje español (porque son 22) y tienen un significado distinto, todas las *permutaciones* en que pueden presentarse estos 25 símbolos se expresan como 25! (25 factorial), que es igual a 1,551121 * 10^2
...more
Jori Richardson
It has been a year or two since I have last read anything by my favorite author of all time, Jorge Luis Borges.
"The Library of Babel" was always one of the short stories that stayed with me, and I am glad that I decided to re-read it last night.
Here, the Universe and the Library are one and the same, and the world is made up of shelves upon shelves of countless, infinite numbers of books.
The books, however, do not contain stories and histories and vast knowledge. Or, perhaps they do. In fact, ma
...more
Yana
Aug 25, 2012 Yana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: G.
Recommended to Yana by: J.
Shelves: y-list
Here is Yana Filkovsky - Saito's Review
OF
The Library of Babel
by Jorge Luis Borges

I.
The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges IS
of ALL
things
a
One of my favorite things.

II.
Seriously - that's it; and that's the only thing I need, is this.
I don't need this or this.
Just this Borges' Library of Babel.
And this ashtray, the ashtray and the Library of Babel and that's all I need.
And these lucifers. The ashtray, the lucifers, and the Borges' Babel , and that's all I need.
And these coffin nails.
...more
Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}
*Cross-posted on Wordpress

Completely confounding. An intriguing idea poorly executed. Even reading slowly didn't improve understanding. Beautifully written sentences were meaningless without much background or context.

I honestly didn't perceive the allegory; the library representing the universe, its books filled with information detailing everything within it, though in an incomprehensible manner - multiple languages represented in each volume.

Unending patience and a generous mood are required
...more
Bradley Arlt
I actually read this in Spanish. I'm tempted to give it a quick whirl in English to see if I like it more...

Estuve esperando leer este libro hace mucho. Supuestamente era genial. Lo que leí no tenia mucho de un cuenta, ni mucho de desarrollo de concepto. Quizás tenia demasiado expectativas por ese libro. Pero lo encontré largo y sin mucho punto.

Voy a leerlo en ingles para sacar la duda que esto es un problema de idioma. Pero no tengo mucha esperanza.
Jean Carlton
This was very odd - have read nothing by Borges to date. Very different prose and concepts but I did find myself smiling at the concept only to find out in discussion in class at the University what he was trying to say. I did not read any reviews prior to reading it - a practice I follow so I can not be influenced by even the synopsis let alone someone else's opinion of it.
Marzieh
"هزارها انسان ناشکیبا شش ضلعی آرام زادگاه خود را ترک کردند و با هدف بیهوده ی یافتن توجیهشان به پلکانها هجوم آوردند. این زائران در راهروهای باریک مشاجره میکردند، نفرینهای گنگ بر زبان میراندند، در پلکانهای الهی همدیگر را خفه میکردند، کتابهای گول زننده را به قعر تونلها می انداختند، و به دست آدمهای نواحی دوردست که آنها را به پایین پرت میکردند، هلاک میشدند. برخی دیگر عقلشان را از دست دادند...
نمیتوان انکار کرد که توجیه ها وجود دارد اما جویندگان متوجه نمیشدند که برای یک انسان احتمال یافتن کتاب حقانیت خ
...more
Natasha Mostert
I cannot overstate how much I love Borges's writing. He truly was the master of "poetic faith." Dreams, mirrors, labyrinths, libraries: every single one of his short stories is breathtaking. This little volume, "The Library of Babel" served as a huge inspiration for the Memory Palace in my novel, SEASON OF THE WITCH.
Ilaria
3.5 stelle.

Posso dire senza troppi problemi che questo è il miglior racconto che il mio prof di italiano mi abbia dato da leggere.
Strano, molto breve, ma affascinante. Sarà perché amo i libri che l'idea di una biblioteca con tutti i libri del mondo mi esalta?
Leggetelo se ne avete la possibilità, non credo proprio che ve ne pentirete!
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Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo (Spanish pronunciation: [xoɾxe lwis boɾxes], Russian: Хорхе Луис Борхес) was an Argentine writer and poet born in Buenos Aires. In 1914, his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school and traveled to Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals. He also worked as a libra ...more
More about Jorge Luis Borges...
Ficciones Labyrinths:  Selected Stories and Other Writings Collected Fictions The Aleph and Other Stories Selected Poems

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“You who read me, are You sure of understanding my language?” 82 likes
“I know of a wild region whose librarians repudiate the vain superstitious custom of seeking any sense in books and compare it to looking for meaning in dreams or in the chaotic lines of one's hands . . . They admit that the inventors of writing imitated the twenty-five natural symbols, but they maintain that this application is accidental and that books in themselves mean nothing. This opinion - we shall see - is not altogether false.” 9 likes
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