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The Library of Babel

The Library of Babel


by Jorge Luis Borges

The Library of Babel Literature and Writing Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Paragraph)

Quote #1

One book, which my father once saw in a hexagon in circuit 15-94, consisted of the letters M C V perversely repeated from the first line to the last. Another (much consulted in this zone) is a mere labyrinth of letters whose penultimate page contains the phrase O Time thy pyramids. (5)

We like how he refers to the jumble of letters as a "labyrinth" – reading them and trying to make sense of them is like getting lost in a maze.

Quote #2

This much is known: For every rational line or forthright statement there are leagues of senseless cacophony, verbal nonsense, and incoherency. (5)

Hmm... doesn't this sound a lot like the Internet today?  For example, for all of the quality websites you're allowed to cite in your research papers, there are a whole lot of sites full of incomplete or untrustworthy information. (A lot of "senseless cacophony" probably shows up on your Facebook newsfeed, too.)

Quote #3

They will acknowledge that the inventors of writing imitated the twenty-five natural symbols, but contend that that adoption was fortuitous, coincidental, and that books in themselves have no meaning. (5)

This part is a little confusing. It seems as though in the universe of the Library, "writing" is something that the librarians do, whereas the books contain "natural symbols." So this story that we're reading right now is an example of "writing," because the librarian is composing it.

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