Babel revisited

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In 1997 Iván Almeida, professor at the Borges Center in Aarhus, wrote to Umberto Eco, pointing out an apparent error in a recent article of his. Eco, copying verbatim the translation of the eminent Lucentini, asserts that the galleries of the celebrated Library of Babel, consist of «twenty-five shelves, five per side, covering all sides but one», while in the original version Borges assures that «twenty shelves, five per side, cover all but two sides». And that’s not all. In Lucentini’s translation we read that each of the volumes of the Library consists of forty lines and each line of forty letters. For Borges, however, the number of letters per line is eighty. In this article it is shown that these seemingly trivial errors contain a transcendent —perhaps terrifying— revelation about the Universe.

Key Words

Babel, Borges, Almeida, Eco, Lucentini.

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