Literary Connection Between The Works of Jorge Luis Borges and Dante

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About this sample


Words: 717 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jul 7, 2022

Words: 717|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jul 7, 2022

Jorge Luis Borges, a Spanish author who writes novels and short stories that often refer to themes that are spatially linked to Dante’s structural ideas. Borges’ short story ‘The Library of Babel’ published 1941 is another allegorical text that contemplates the purpose of each one in a universe so infinite. The panoramic site of a city scape is positioned above the lookout hill of Joan Phillips Reserve during sunset. The effect of the horizon and city line parallels the two themes in both texts, infinity and a distinct split between the physical regions displayed visually.  

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Borges’ tale of an allegorical library that constitutes the universe, is composed of an “indefinite, perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries”. The three dimensionality to our boundless horizon stretches beyond what the eye can see. Borges’ tale begs us to question what is interior and how can it be defined without a framework. Unlike the horizon, Borges’ narrative clearly outlines the physical structures of the never ending Library in critical detail. His intention is to place the character in a vast space to highlight his minuteness in a never ending expanse of time and space. A panoramic view is one that minimises the individual itself and maximises their surroundings, therefore creating a loop in space which directly correlates to Borge’s finding stating, any traveller who walks a continuous straight line will one day return to the same books, he “would find after untold centuries that the same volumes are repeated in the same disorder”. This is an infinity that expands inwards rather than outwards. Borges library intentionally pushes the character to feel overwhelmed by the never ending sense that the vicinity creates and the language that is used within the text for example, when Borge refers to the library as “the universe” this in turn makes any mere human seem small in the large scene of the library. It is clear to see that Borge is intentional about metaphorically ‘drowning’ the character through the means of space, shape, height and the boundlessness the atmosphere resounds. This is evident as Borge refers to various aspects of the library as “infinite” “unattainable”,“inconceivable” etc.

The horizon is a brilliant reflection of the “universe”. Borge speaks about as it is literally and figuratively the embodiment of what he is attempting to communicate. The Horizon is a naturally occurring phenomenon which accurately reflects the universal reference that Borge is portraying, this is the literal embodiment. The figurative embodiment of “universal” is also evident in the horizon through the same elements that make the library as overwhelming as it is. These are space, shape and height. The horizon is the ideal model for what an infinite and unattainable space would look like and is typically referred to and viewed as such. As for the shape of the horizon, it is new everyday, ever changing with the surroundings but the same in essence. What may be the most “universal” aspect of all three is the height of the horizon as it is unattainable, infinite and inconceivable, this is what makes it so awe inducing just as the library is.

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“The Tower of Babel” is the final destination, it is a Biblical described in Genesis 11:1-9. The historical, or some may say mythical location has direct correlation to both Borge and Dante’s narratives. The Tower of Babel was birthed through a monolingual society, humanity as a whole gathered to build a city and tower that could reach the Heavens. “The Lord” was displeased with them and “confused their language” so that their dialect became incomprehensible to one another. “Babel” appears only in the title of Borge’s narrative, his common use of intertextuality parallels the Vastness and power of God over humanity. “Infinite number of hexagonal galleries” that contain books with incomprehensive languages stir the characters in his narrative for their purpose and the Library’s purpose in the infinite space. The upward spiral showcases the spiritual and physical Journey on Dante’s Purgatory, purging one of their sin so that they may reach the Heavenly Realms. It invokes thought to such structure, that as a result of conflict with their present realm, the people fall apart as does the structure, due to the inconsistency of dialogueand understanding. The Tower of Babel remains unfinished and unsuccessful, The Library of Babel un-comprehensive with and undiscovered purpose. 

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Literary Connection Between the Works of Jorge Luis Borges and Dante. (2022, July 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Literary Connection Between the Works of Jorge Luis Borges and Dante.” GradesFixer, 07 Jul. 2022,
Literary Connection Between the Works of Jorge Luis Borges and Dante. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Feb. 2024].
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