borges google doodle

For the 114th birthday of Jorge Luis Borges, Google made a doodle. Here’s a link to one of stories of his with such a bewitching central premise: a library that has every configuration, permutation and combination of letters.

The Library of Babel

From a nonfiction essay, here’s his list of what you would find in such a library:

“Everything would be in its blind volumes. Everything: the detailed history of the future, Aeyschylus’ The Egyptians, the exact number of times that the water of the Ganges have reflected the flight of a falcon, the secret and true name of Rome, the encyclopedia Novalis would have constructed, my dreams and half-dreams at dawn on August 14, 1934, the proof of Pierre Fermat’s theorem, the unwritten chapters of Edwin Drood, those same chapters translated into the language spoken by the Garamantes, the paradoxes Berkely invented concerning Time but didn’t publish, Urizen’s books of iron, the premature epiphanies of Stephan Dedalus, which would be meaningless before a cycle of a thousand years, the Gnostic Gospels of Basilides, the song the sirens sang, the complete catalog of the Library, the proof of the inaccuracy of that catalog. Everything: but for every sensible line or accurate fact there would be millions of meaningless cacophonies, verbal farragoes, and babblings. Everything: but all the generations of mankind could pass before the dizzying shelves – shelves that obliterate the day and on which chaos lies- ever reward them with a tolerable page.”

Personally, I want to read the rest of Coleridge’s Xanadu – to see the rest of that opium induced dream interrupted by a annoying neighbor.

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Lex Pelger

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