The Library exists ab aeterno. This truth, whose immediate corollary is the future eternity of the world, cannot be placed in doubt by any reasonable mind. Man, the imperfect librarian, may be the product of chance or of malevolent demiurgi; the universe, with its elegant endowment of shelves, of enigmatical volumes, of inexhaustible stairways for the traveler and latrines for the seated librarian, can only be the work of a god. To perceive the distance between the divine and the human, it is enough to compare these crude wavering symbols which my fallible hand scrawls on the cover of a book, with the organic letters inside: punctual, delicate, perfectly black, inimitably symmetrical.
For almost 30 years Candida Höfer has photographed interiors, mostly representational spaces accessible to the public, such as staircases, lobbies, reading halls or exhibition spaces. Rather than staging them, she takes their picture in the state she finds them, with great discreetness and a touch of humor.
A library is a collection of books kept for use. That axiom is key to this sly little book, part of Sternberg’s White Pocketbook Series. Even the title is sly: the portable document format refers both to texts assembled in the -library- at dextersinister.org, and to this other amazing artifact of technology, a pocket-sized, hardcover book.
Through the ages, libraries have not only accumulated and preserved but also shaped, inspired, and obliterated knowledge. Matthew Battles, a rare books librarian and a gifted narrator, takes us on a spirited foray from Boston to Baghdad, from classical scriptoria to medieval monasteries, from the Vatican to the British Library, from socialist reading rooms and rural home libraries to the Information Age.
Jorge Luis Borges has been called the greatest Spanish-language writer of our century. Now for the first time in English, all of Borges’ dazzling fictions are gathered into a single volume, brilliantly translated by Andrew Hurley. From his 1935 debut with The Universal History of Iniquity, through his immensely influential collections Ficciones and The Aleph, these enigmatic, elaborate, imaginative inventions display Borges’ talent for turning fiction on its head by playing with form and genre and toying with language. Together these incomparable works comprise the perfect one-volume compendium for all those who have long loved Borges, and a superb introduction to the master’s work for those who have yet to discover this singular genius.
Inspired by the process of creating a library for his fifteenth-century home near the Loire, in France, Alberto Manguel, the acclaimed writer on books and reading, has taken up the subject of libraries. Libraries,” he says, have always seemed to me pleasantly mad places, and for as long as I can remember I’ve been seduced by their labyrinthine logic.” In this personal, deliberately unsystematic, and wide-ranging book, he offers a captivating meditation on the meaning of libraries.