The unimaginable mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel
 Responsibility
 William Goldbloom Bloch.
 Imprint
 Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008.
 Physical description
 1 online resource (xx, 192 pages) : illustrations
Online
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Description
Creators/Contributors
 Author/Creator
 Bloch, William Goldbloom.
Contents/Summary
 Bibliography
 Includes bibliographical references (pages 175185) and index.
 Contents

 Preface
 Introduction
 Combinatorics: Contemplating Variations of the 23 Letter
 Topology and Cosmology: The Universe (Which Others Call the Library)
 Information Theory: Cataloging the Collection
 Geometry and Graph Theory: Ambiguity and Access
 Real Analysis: The Book of Sand
 More Combinatorics: Disorderings into Order
 A Homomorphism: Structure into Meaning
 Critical Points
 Openings
 Acknowledgements
 Appendix IThe Logos of Logarithms
 Appendix IIFlatOut Disoriented
 Appendix IIIPeeling the 3Sphere
 Appendix IVA Labyrinth, not a Maze
 Appendix VAn Example of the Ars Combinatoria
 Bibliography.
 (source: Nielsen Book Data)
 Summary

The Library of Babel is arguably Jorge Luis Borges' best known storymemorialized along with Borges on an Argentine postage stamp. Now, in The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel, William Goldbloom Bloch takes readers on a fascinating tour of the mathematical ideas hidden within one of the classic works of modern literature. Written in the vein of Douglas R. Hofstadter's Pulitzer Prizewinning Goedel, Escher, Bach, this original and imaginative book sheds light on one of Borges' most complex, richly layered works. Bloch begins each chapter with a mathematical ideacombinatorics, topology, geometry, information theoryfollowed by examples and illustrations that put flesh on the theoretical bones. In this way, he provides many fascinating insights into Borges' Library. He explains, for instance, a straightforward way to calculate how many books are in the Libraryan easily notated but literally unimaginable numberand also shows that, if each book were the size of a grain of sand, the entire universe could only hold a fraction of the books in the Library. Indeed, if each book were the size of a proton, our universe would still not be big enough to hold anywhere near all the books. Given Borges' wellknown affection for mathematics, this exploration of the story through the eyes of a humanistic mathematician makes a unique and important contribution to the body of Borgesian criticism. Bloch not only illuminates one of the great short stories of modern literature but also exposes the readerincluding those more inclined to the literary worldto many intriguing and entrancing mathematical ideas.
(source: Nielsen Book Data)
Subjects
Bibliographic information
 Publication date
 2008
 ISBN
 9780199715169 (electronic bk.)
 0199715165 (electronic bk.)
 9780195334579 (alk. paper)
 0195334574 (alk. paper)