‘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 Comment on “‘The Library Of Babel’ by Jorge Luis Borges”

  1. Jay says:

    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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