Presentation on theme: "∞ In The Works of Jorge Luis Borges Rodrigo Andrade & Jeremy Stratton-Smith."— Presentation transcript:
∞ In The Works of Jorge Luis Borges Rodrigo Andrade & Jeremy Stratton-Smith
Jorge Luis Borges Born August 24, 1899 in Buenos Aires, Argentina Started writing at age 6 and had a translation published at 9 Moved between Argentina and Europe several times throughout childhood
The Garden of Forking Paths A German spy (Yu Tsun) in England has had his identity compromised and needs to communicate information to the Germans. In order to do this Tsun identifies a person (Stephen Albert) whose name contains the information he wishes to pass along and decides to kill them in order for the information to get to the Germans.
The Garden of Forking Paths When he arrives at Albert’s estate, it turns out that Albert happens to be in possession of a famous book that was written by one of Tsun’s ancestors. The book appears to be nonsense, with chapters not fitting together in any kind of coherent way. This ancestor was also said to have made a labyrinth that no one could escape from but it was never found.
The Garden of Forking Paths Albert solved both of these riddles: the labyrinth is the book as each chapter of the book is written to be a part of a different potential plot. Tsun then kills Albert, successfully communicating the information.
The Garden of Forking Paths “ The Garden of Forking Paths is a picture, incomplete yet not false” (Kerrigan, 100) “Differing from Newton…your ancestor did not think of time as absolute and uniform. He believed in an infinite series of times, in [an]…ever spreading network of diverging, converging and parallel times. This web of time…embraces every possibility.” (Kerrigan, 100)
The Garden of Forking Paths “The book is a shapeless mass of contradictory rough drafts…the hero dies in the third chapter, while in the fourth he is alive.” (Kerrigan, 96) What size infinity does The Garden of Forking Paths imply? If time is continuously bifurcating, what is the size of the set of all possible times?
The Book of Sand The narrator, Borges himself, opens the door to a stranger who offers him bibles. He quickly denies the offer, but then the seller offers a new book, an infinite book. This book, according to the seller, has no two pages identical, no first page nor last.
The Book of Sand The seller desires a high price, which Borges can’t pay. Borges, obsessed with the thought of the infinite book offers his retirement paycheck and a gothic Wyclif bible. The seller agrees to the trade and leaves. After not being able to fall asleep, he grabs the book and starts to read through the pages.
The Book of Sand He realizes, months later, how the book has consumed his life in the desire to understand how it works. He has to get rid of it. Borges takes the book to the national library of Argentina, where he hides it among nine thousand books.
The Book of Sand “I was struck by an odd fact: the even-numbered page would carry the number 40,514, let us say, while the odd-numbered page that followed it would be 999. I turned the page; the next page bore an eight-digit number.” (Hurley, 4) “If space is infinite, we are in no particular point in space. If time is infinite, we are in no particular point in time.” (Hurley, 5)
The Book of Sand Why were there numbers irrelevant to the page number on the frame of each page? If the book is infinite then there are no page numbers and therefore useless In the story it was stated that if the book is closed, then the page is lost forever, but if there is a limited amounts of characters in which the book is written and in a finite amount of languages, there will be a point where the pages start to repeat, similar to the library of Babel, is it true? Can a book be truly infinite?
Death and the Compass Erik Lönnrot follows the pattern of a series of three murders that occur at locations that together form an equilateral triangle with vertices pointing in the cardinal directions of North, East, and West.
Death and the Compass He concludes that there will be another murder at the South point of a rhombus based on the other three points. He arrives at an estate with a garden and house that have enough radial symmetry to begin to seem infinite. After facing the murderer and discussing a linear labyrinth, Lönnrot becomes the victim himself.
Death and the Compass “He traveled through duplicate patios; several times he emerged upon the same patio….he was infinitely reflected in opposing mirrors” (Kerrigan, 138) “On the second floor, on the top story, the house seemed to be infinite and growing. It is only made larger by the penumbra, the symmetry, the mirrors, the years, my ignorance, the solitude. ” (Kerrigan, 138)
Death and the Compass “I know of a Greek labyrinth which is a single straight line. Along this line so many philosophers have lost themselves that a mere detective might well do so too….feign to commit (or do commit) a crime at A, then a second crime at B, eight kilometers from A, then a third crime at C, four kilometers from A and B, halfway en route between the two. Wait for me later at D, two kilometers from A and C, halfway, one again, between both. Kill me at D, as are now going to kill me at Triste-le-Roy.” (Kerrigan, 141) ABCD
The Library of Babel The narrator describes an infinite library made up of hexagonal rooms arranged in lattices stacked on top of each other. The rooms have four walls lined with books that are of uniform size and length. These books are composed of every possible combination of characters. Since there is an infinite number of books, the narrator, who is an old man that is bracing himself for his death, suggests to the reader that every book that could be formulated is somewhere in the library.
The Library of Babel No two books in the library are exactly the same. There is also variation in languages, so each book may be a variation of other books in a different language. In this library there are also books that contain no meaning whatsoever. All useful information that can ever be written is somewhere in the library of Babel. How many Languages are there? How many books make no sense?
The Library of Babel The librarians are superstitious, and believe that somewhere in the library there must exist a single book that states the index of all other books, and therefore is the master book. Such a book was believed to be read by the Master of the Book, a man that lived somewhere in the library that knew the contents of the book. Is this man God, or the representation of Ein Sof? He would have to be hundreds of years old.
The Library of Babel Some, the purifiers, decided that they should burn all the books. Others choose to randomly adopt a book and idolize its contents. Nevertheless the infinite collection of information drove the population mad. Religion
The Library of Babel “Before, there was a man for every three hexagons. Suicide and pulmonary diseases have destroyed that proportion. A memory of unspeakable melancholy: at times I have traveled for many nights through corridors and along polished stairways without finding a single librarian.” (J.E.I., 8) “The Library is a sphere whose exact center is any one of its hexagons and whose circumference is inaccessible” (J.E.I., 2)
The Aleph At Beatriz Viterbo’s death on a February morning, Borges realizes that he doesn’t want to be changed by the factors of living without his love, so every year, on her birthday he goes to her parents house to visit her family. Carlos Argentino Daneri, Beatriz’s cousin lives in the house and slowly over the years gets to know and respect Borges for his visits. Borges has little regard towards Carlos, since he is “too human” which means he has an ordinary life with no purpose.
The Aleph He also writes a mediocre poem called Earth that Borges is forced to edit and review. The poem intends to exemplify earth in a “chaotic” set of verses. A couple of weeks later Carlos calls Borges asking for help with his poem and to secure a prologue from a renowned author. They established this meeting in Zunino and Zungri. Ironically, months later, Zunino and Zungri desire to demolish Carlos house to expand their business.
The Aleph Carlos is not sad because of his house, but because of the Aleph in the cellar. The aleph in the cellar is the one point where all other points on earth are seen. One that sees the aleph sees everything from every single angle at that point in time. Similar to Reinman Sphere, a sphere in three dimensions being able to represent what is viewed in four dimensions.
The Aleph Borges, thinking the cousin was mad, goes down the cellar by himself. Thinking he was letting a mad man trap him in the basement he sees the aleph. He slowly lost recollection of some of the things he saw, days later. Human capacity to understand infinity.
The Aleph Carlos poem is later received and awarded by the public, and Borges starts to question Carlos, how did he name the aleph or was it someone else. He ends up making Daneri doubt himself by lying about the Aleph.
The Aleph “Yes, the only place on earth where all places are — seen from every angle, each standing clear, without any confusion or blending.”(Giovanni, 7) “Truth cannot penetrate a closed mind. If all places in the universe are in the Aleph, then all stars, all lamps, all sources of light are in it, too.”(Giovanni, 7)
The Aleph “And here begins my despair as a writer. All language is a set of symbols whose use among its speakers assumes a shared past. How, then, can I translate into words the limitless Aleph, which my floundering mind can scarcely encompass?.”(Giovanni, 8) “Really, what I want to do is impossible, for any listing of an endless series is doomed to be infinitesimal. In that single gigantic instant I saw millions of acts both delightful and awful; not one of them occupied the same point in space, without overlapping or transparency. What my eyes beheld was simultaneous, but what I shall now write down will be successive, because language is successive.”(Giovanni, 8)
The Ethnographer A graduate student decides to do a study of Native American cultures and goes to live with a tribe on the prairie. He becomes part of the tribe, has a mystical experience and leaves to report back to his advisor. When they meet, the student decides not to finish his paper because it would not communicate what he learned. The mystical experience taught him something that goes beyond language so he decides to end his studies.
The Ethnographer “Now that I possess the secret, I could tell it in a hundred different and even contradictory ways. I don’t know how to tell you this, but the secret is beautiful, and science, our science, seems mere frivolity to me now.” (Hurley)
Bibliography Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Aleph”. Trans. Norma Thomas Di Giovanni Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Book of Sand”. Trans by Andrew Hurley Borges, Jorge Luis. “Death and the Compass.” Ficciones. Trans. Anthony Kerrigan. New York: Grove, 1962. 129-41. Print. Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Ethnographer.” Trans. Andrew Hurley. Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Garden of Forking Paths.” Ficciones. Trans. Anthony Kerrigan. New York: Grove, 1962. 89-101. Print. Borges, Jorge Luis. “The Library of Babel”. Trans by J.E.I Ruch, Allen B. “Biography.” themodernworld.com. 1/24/2014. Web.