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.
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.