The Library of Babel
by Jorge Luis Borges
The Library of Babel Resources
Now you can pick up a book off the shelf in the Library of Babel and browse its pages, hoping to come across a legible phrase, an interesting pattern, or even a secret code. The Internet is a marvelous invention, is it not?
Allen B. Ruch runs this website, which is an astounding collection of information about and inspired by the work of Jorge Luis Borges.
Articles & Interviews
A growing number of scholars are making the case that "The Library of Babel" and some of Borges' other mind-bending stories contain the seeds of the Internet culture that we live in today. (Be on the lookout for a collection of essays entitled Cy-Borges. We kid you not.) This article in the New York Times draws a few parallels between Borges' ideas and some of our most beloved digital institutions (like Wikipedia).
The New York Times interviewed Borges in 1971. He explains that being a widely beloved intellectual means, among other things, that you don't have to pay cab fare.
If you enjoyed crunching the numbers in Borges' story and figuring out, for example, how many books there are in the Library, or how big the Library has to be, you might want to check out this book by Professor William Goldbloom Block. In an approachable style, he explores the mathematical theory behind the story.
This 2007 documentary about Jorge Luis Borges was made by director Philippe Molins.
Borges wasn't just an essayist – he was also, evidently, a lyricist. In the 1960s, Borges collaborated with legendary tango composer Astor Piazzolla to create a series of tangos. Their work was rerecorded and released as an album in 1994.
Argentine singer Valeria Munarriz covers several of these tangos, as well as others inspired by Borges. You can listen to samples from the album here.
Borges delivers a lecture at Harvard in 1967.
A collection of images of Jorge Luis Borges.
At the National Library in Argentina.
Here's an artist's depiction of what Borges' Library could look like – does it look anything like what you've been imagining?