“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” — JLB
Jorge Luis Borges has to be one of the most astonishing writers in world literature. One might say modern literature except that he is the embodiment of all, which he consumed with passion. Considering that he never produced a novel, this Argentine short story writer, poet and essayist has had the most profound influence on writers from all points north, south, east and west. I know no one familiar with Borges who is not likewise impressed. By way of introduction, here are some links to various websites or pages related to Borges…
Labyrinths are a recurring theme in Borges. This web page contains summaries of each of the stories in his collection titled Labyrinths.
One of his most famous stories is titled The Garden of Forking Paths. It, too, is a labyrinthian tale which no doubt became the seed that produced this very cool, experimental game design titled Branching Narrative From Borges to the Hypertext.
In 2009 when I wrote about Borges someone sent me a Borgesian-style piece which I enjoyed very much, and shared it here.
I’ve been collecting his books for a very long time. His last, which he claims was his best, is called The Book of Sand. When I discovered it in the library I purchased it and completed my collection. More or less. You’ll enjoy reading this Wikipedia introduction to The Book of Sand.
The penultimate story in this book, of course, is this one that gives the volume its name.
But the most interesting to me is this hypertext version of the story.
All the stories here, however, yield rewards.
And then, there’s The Library of Babel, a strange story about a library that contains all the knowledge in the universe in a somewhat fantastic manner. When conceived as a story more than 60 years ago he had no way of knowing that computer technology would enable an obsessed devotee of the story to replicate, albeit in a virtual space, this unusual library so that others may explore its contents. The website explains itself thus: The Library of Babel is a place for scholars to do research, for artists and writers to seek inspiration, for anyone with curiosity or a sense of humor to reflect on the weirdness of existence — in short, it’s just like any other library. Not really.
Check it out: The Library of Babel.
His stories produce collisions of ideas, sequences of philosophical shenanigans simultaneously consequential and inconsequential, absurd and fully enthralling, frothy and breathtaking, a whirlwind, a fable, a grand deception refracting light, blazing with half-crazy jangling, jarring and jaw-dropping mesmerizing. Borges the magician inspires, igniting readers’ hearts and minds. Writers who study his moves are moved. “How did he do this?”
For what it’s worth, if you’re not yet familiar with Borges and his stories I am happy here to have helped you begin the acquaintance.
Originally published at pioneerproductions.blogspot.com