‘The Library Of Babel’ by Jorge Luis Borges

Borges, Jorge Luis 1941

The Library Of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges, 1941

The magic trick:

Waxing poetic about the nature of infinity

If the central goal of literature is to help us understand the world better – and I think that’s a pretty good place for art to start – then “The Library Of Babel” is a great story. I didn’t particularly enjoy reading it. Plot. Characters. Suspense. These are not of concern to this story. Instead we get what is essentially an essay exploring the notion of the world as a library and the possibilities of infinity. And that’s quite a trick on Borges’s part.

The selection:

Those who judge it to be limited postulate that in remote places the corridors and stairways and hexagons can conceivably come to an end — which is absurd. Those who imagine it to be without limit forget that the possible number of books does have such a limit. I venture to suggest this solution to the ancient problem: The Library is unlimited and cyclical.


What do you think about this story? As always, join the conversation in the comments section below, on SSMT Facebook or on Twitter @ShortStoryMT.


One thought on “‘The Library Of Babel’ by Jorge Luis Borges

  1. One of my book clubs read Borges’ “Ficciones” last year. It took me awhile to warm up to him, but I ended up liking many of his stories, including this one. As I recall, the other members of my book club were less receptive to him… 🙂

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