The unimaginable mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel
 Author/Creator
 Bloch, William Goldbloom.
 Language
 English.
 Imprint
 Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008.
 Physical description
 xx, 192 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
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Contents/Summary
 Bibliography
 Includes bibliographical references (p. [181]185) 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)
 Publisher's 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 Godel, 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
 Responsibility
 William Goldbloom Bloch.
 ISBN
 0195334574 (cloth)
 9780195334579 (cloth)