HBCU Money™ Business Book Feature – The Library of Babel


“The Library of Babel” is one of the most memorable stories by the great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. This slim book contains Andrew Hurley’s English translation of the story, eleven illustrations by Erik Desmazieres, and an introduction by Angela Giral.

“Library” is the quintessential “Borgesian” tale. The story concerns an infinite library, composed of endlessly connected hexagonal galleries, and populated by inhabitants among whom have risen various weird belief systems and subcultures. The first-person narrator is one of the library’s residents. “Library” is a masterpiece of the fantastic and the metaphysical.

Giral notes in her introduction that Desmaziere’s engravings are not literal representations of scenes from the story, but rather “the product of a parallel imagination, inspired to create in visual images his own, equivalent universe.” The etchings have an elegant, majestic, and sometimes whimsical quality that effectively complements Borges’ unique imagination. This book would make a nice gift for lovers of Borges, or of fantastic literature in general.

Courtesy of Michael J. Mazza

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