Labyrinths (Borges) #Friday56

I came across a wonderfully unique way of sharing great books today: the Friday 56 challenge from Freda’s Voice. I’m late to the most recent party there, but wanted to try this out just the same.

The Friday 56 Rules:

  • Grab a book, any book.                           
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
  • Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
  • Post it.
  • Add your (url) post in the Linky on Friday 56. Add the post url, not your blog url.
  • It’s that simple!

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A Selection from Borges

And now, a few lines from page 56 of Labyrinths, that staggering short story collection from one Jorge Luis Borges [of Geneva, via Buenos Aires].  As I begin to write this, incidentally, I should stress that I haven’t opened to the page itself yet. Only the book has been chosen.

In fact, there’s a chance this exercise could end abruptly on a page so blank it instantly voids anything I’ve set out to present to you. (You, of course, being forever a mystery, and any pretense of a present being just as nebulous.)

Having come this far, I see no choice but to go a step farther: when the words of Borges are selected and posted below, I’m prepared to copy them as repeatedly as SEO and metatags deem necessary. It’s conceivable that I’ve begun to do so already by the time you read this. In that case, the repeated words and any errors I subsequently introduce will have begun to gather their way together into some potentially infinite Library—one existing entirely apart from my personal shelves, but with copies somehow managing to encompass all I could ever hope to have written.

There are in this instance only two considerations to be safely made. One: the Library is so enormous that any reduction of human origin is infinitesimal. The other: every copy is unique, irreplaceable, but (since the Library is total) there are always several hundred thousand imperfect facsimiles: works which differ only in a letter or a comma.

Having searched frantically through each of these repetitions, how would one determine the original excerpt from page 56 had been chanced upon? Here I confess the lines sought have already passed before us; I repeat them now only for the sake of clarity and resolution:

One: the Library is so enormous that any reduction of human origin is infinitesimal. The other: every copy is unique, irreplaceable, but (since the Library is total) there are always several hundred thousand imperfect facsimiles: works which differ only in a letter or a comma.

-Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”

Forgive my meager attempt at simulating for you the experience of reading and inhabiting a fiction of Borges, whose brilliance I ape with no small dose of shame. But that of all possible stories to turn up on a random page of Labyrinths, it should appropriately happen to be “The Library of Babel” . . . in this I can take great consolation.

That was fun. Cheers, my friends.

 

4 thoughts on “Labyrinths (Borges) #Friday56

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