The Trope Of The Sphere

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Interestingly, it is via Borges, a well-known master in the creation of literary labyrinths, that we are able to find several possible explanations for these inner circularities, for instance, through his recurrent references to the trope of the sphere. Take some of the short fictions that constitute his 1941 volume The Garden of Forking Paths, namely ‘Lottery in Babylon’ and ‘The Library of Babel’. Not only does Borges tell us that the Babylonians ‘obey the dictates of chance, surrender their lives, their hopes, their nameless terror to it, but it never occurs to them to delve into its labyrinthine laws or the revolving spheres that manifest its workings’ (Borges 1998: 104; emphasis added), but also his Library of Babel ‘is a sphere whose exact center is any hexagon and whose circumference is unattainable’ (113). Moreover, the trope of the sphere ‘whose center is everywhere and its circumference nowhere’ would be later analysed by Borges in an essay titled ‘Pascal’s Sphere’ [1951]. In it, the significance of the sphere as a double paradox of time/infinity and of unity/multiplicity becomes clearer, by means of a line that he draws from Xenophanes of Colophon to Pascal in order to…show more content…
Not only the tetrahedron proves to be ‘circular’ due to the geographical positions of the murders, but also the implied notion of rebirth that is given in the imminence of the main character’s death already denotes the idea of circularity (Borges 1998: 156). Notwithstanding, in the same text there is also evidence of an acquaintance with the pre-Socratic coincidentia oppositorum, by means of which a straight line is potentially no different from a circular line (plus, a formulation that is also reminiscent of Zeno’s Paradoxes of
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