Originally published in 1941 in Spanish, “The Library of Babel” is one of Jorge Luis Borges’ most famous short stories. Describing a seemingly infinite Library, a narrator muses on the implications of living in a world consisting only of the Library, including the ways that humans would necessarily create stories, both good and bad, to help them endure it. It is as much a philosophical treatise on the unfathomability of the infinite as it is a short story. “The Library of Babel” has influenced writers, filmmakers, and computer programmers since its publication, in an attempt to wrestle with the enormity of the world Borges portrays within the story.


Read our full plot summary of “The Library of Babel.”


See a complete list of the characters in “The Library of Babel” and in-depth analyis of the narrator.

Literary Devices

Here's where you will find analysis of the key literary devices in “The Library of Babel.”


Find the quotes from “The Library of Babel” you need to support your essay or refresh your memory.

Deeper Study

Enhance your understanding of “The Library of Babel” by learning about Jorge Luis Borges and related works on SparkNotes.