23

This is a quote from an interview he gave in 1931. Traigo preparados cuatro libros. De teatro. De poesía. Y de impresiones neoyorkinas, el que puede titularse : la ciudad, interpretación personal, abstracción impersonal, sin lugar ni tiempo dentro de aquella ciudad mundo. Un símbolo patético : Sufrimiento. Pero del revés, sin dramatismo. Es una puesta en ...


12

Brenci Patiño makes the point that the two women, Modesta and the indigenous woman, are "pitted against each other" by the social structure around them. They "share similar experiences of oppression," but must fight each other for survival. Modesta, as a servant to a wealthy family, was abused and made to live in fear. So the specific incident, in which ...


11

In 2016, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of Cervantes' death, Taberna Libraria published a facsimile edition of all of the author's manuscripts. This edition contains only 12 manuscripts. For a description, see the PDF file Autógrafos de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (in Spanish). The book was published in a limited edition of 1616 copies. King ...


11

You are bringing the first quote a little out of context: The idealists argue that the hexagonal rooms are a necessary from of absolute space or, at least, of our intuition of space. They reason that a triangular or pentagonal room is inconceivable. (The mystics claim that their ecstasy reveals to them a circular chamber containing a great circular book, ...


10

Like many of Borges's tales, The Library of Babel is meant more as a thought experiment than a realistic story. Don't overthink it. There's no mention anywhere in the story of any of various practicalities of life: where the librarians get food and how they eat how the plumbing for the toilets is operated and maintained how the librarian population is ...


10

A central concern of The Library of Babel -- and particularly this section of it -- is the search for order and meaning within a chaotic world. In this passage, Borges introduces the Purifiers; those who, in their pursuit of truth and meaning, destroy anything they consider of no value: Others, inversely, believed that it was fundamental to eliminate ...


9

Remember that the Library is infinite and complete: the Library is "total" - perfect, complete, and whole - and that its bookshelves contain all possible combinations of the twenty-two orthographic symbols (a number which, though unimaginably vast, is not infinite) - that is, all that is able to be expressed, in every language. Note the phrase "in every ...


9

I'd strongly speculate that the rows are 80 characters each. The original Spanish is as follows: A cada uno de los muros de cada hexágono corresponden cinco anaqueles; cada anaquel encierra treinta y dos libros de formato uniforme; cada libro es de cuatrocientas diez páginas; cada página, de cuarenta renglones; cada renglón, de unas ochenta letras de ...


8

Hexagons are a natural pattern found in various orderly structures in nature: for example, the cells of a beehive, or the columns of the Giant's Causeway. By making his Library a hexagonal tessellation, Borges could be attempting to evoke thoughts of the most perfect and ordered natural phenomena. One geometric reason for the popularity of hexagons is that ...


8

There are several options -- which makes sense, as this is a story which explores the idea of infinity. The Library is spherical Immediately following the line "I say that the Library is unending", the narrator says: Let it suffice now for me to repeat the classic dictum: The Library is a sphere whose exact center is any one of its hexagons and whose ...


8

As Cascabel rightly says, there is no direct equivalent to a Pension in Britain - in terms of the particular facilities provided. As mentioned, this is not the only work in which Pension is not translated, either from Spanish or from French. Translation to, for example, Bed & Breakfast would carry connotations to a British reader that are not intended ...


7

Note that has outlined by Beastly Gerbil, the protagonist is living through events based on Borges's on life: in his novel, the protagonist hits a recently painted door jamb, while in his autobiography, Borges hits a freshly painted open casement window. The reference to fresh paint seems to make no doubt of the biographical nature of the event. The many ...


7

While this does not answer the significance of the entire book, it focuses on a few key points. The story is actually partially autobiographical. In his early life, Borges worked in a library. In the year 1938, the same year his father died, he bumped his head on a window and nearly died of septicemia - blood poisoning. 'The south' was published in 1953, ...


6

The Library of Babel cannot be taken as plausible, realistic worldbuilding. "How can real-world languages exist" is not going to have more of an answer than "How does an immense number of bound books exist," or "How can they know what bread or pyramids are, when they can't possibly have either." There is excellent reason for Borges to use real languages, but ...


5

Thank you for asking this question! (Not least because I am itinerant and my Borges is all in boxes, but your question led me to this collected stories of Borges in pdf, which will provide ℵ value on any mobile device.) Borges was not only profound, he intended his stories to be enigmas. Any analysis I give can only be partial, and must be regarded as ...


5

My comment about Borges got me web searching and this time I was able to find the author, by researching South American female contemporaries of Borges. She is Clarice Lispector (b. 1920, d. 1977). If you Google "Clarice Lispector cockroach" you can find references to her story "The Fifth Story" about cockroaches who are frozen like "statues" by the borax ...


4

Note that Sancho's request in Ch 25 is not the first time he has asked for the injunction against his speaking be lifted. In Ch 21 (Mabrino's helmet) Sancho asks As they went along, then, in this way Sancho said to his master, "Senor, would your worship give me leave to speak a little to you? For since you laid that hard injunction of silence on me ...


4

It turns out Recabarren was a political figure in Chile who was imprisoned for 8 months: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luis_Emilio_Recabarren As you will recall, the setting of the story is in Latin America. The loss of voice could be a reference to being silenced politically, and connected to the black guitarist as a symbol of the oppressed classes, ...


4

The poem as a whole contrasts the experience of people of colour in their ancestral land with their experience of New York. The symbolic protagonist is a true "king" in his own land. But while he may also be "king" in Harlem, it is a far less noble office, one that is forced to play second fiddle to the of the white population. In African myth, the ...


3

In his essay on Pascal's sphere, which relates to several of the themes of "The Library Of Babel", Borges also notes the fixation certain mystics had on picturing God as an infinite sphere whose circumference is nowhere and center, everywhere. Thus, Borges is probably continuing his train of thought on this subject in that essay by making the book that ...


3

It's periodic. This is directly answered in the text, at the very end of the story: I have just written the word "infinite". I have not included that adjective out of mere rhetorical habit; I hereby state that it is not illogical to think that the world is infinite. Those who believe it to have limits hypothesise that in some remote place or places the ...


3

You don't eat in the library. You'd get the books messy. The library here is intended to evoke a university library, where scholars toil away their lives searching for some snippet of information. Libraries have bathrooms, and places for catnaps, but not real sleeping facilities, and certainly not places to eat. You go home for that. The question is, why ...


3

In the beginning, Macondo was a city solidly set in reality. Magical things happened, but everybody agreed they happened. However, as time passed by, gradually the hold of Macondo on reality started slipping. Things became increasingly illusory. There are several instances of this: Fernanda's prolonged correspondence with the imaginary doctors. The massacre ...


3

Every time I read the story I find new meaning, and I suspect I will always feel as thought I am missing more than I am recognizing (the magic of Borges!) Without going into it too deeply: Perception is a major factor in the story. The imaginary line of the Rividavia that marks the South. Dahlmann's perception of himself as two people, one travelling ...


3

Smerdis was a magian. For example, the book Darius the Great by Jacob Abbott (freely available online e.g. here and here) has a chapter entitled "Smerdis the Magian", and the journal article Arno Poebel, "The Duration of the Reign of Smerdis, the Magian, and the Reigns of Nebuchadnezzar III and Nebuchadnezzar IV", The American Journal of Semitic Languages ...


2

This is almost certainly the short story collection Natural Histories by Guadalupe Nettel. Since the stories you seek were translated into English, I guessed that the author might be relatively well-known in South American literature. So I did a Google search for short stories south american, and lo and behold, I found this page which says: In Natural ...


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