The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges Library of Babel BBS

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"The Library of Babel" is arguably Jorge Luis Borges\' best known story--memorialized 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 Prize-winning Gödel, 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 idea--combinatorics, topology, geometry, information theory--followed 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 Library--an easily notated but literally unimaginable number--and 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\' well-known 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 reader--including those more inclined to the literary world--to many intriguing and entrancing mathematical ideas.
# Hardcover: 224 pages
# Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (September 7, 2011)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0195334574
# ISBN-13: 978-0195334579 
The Unimaginable Mathematics of Borges' Library of Babel - W. Bloch (Oxford, 2008) BBS.pdf 2.546 MB
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