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"La Biblioteca Total", 1939

 File — Box: 1, Folder: 17

Scope and Contents

Holograph manuscript "Universal Library" by Jorge Luis Borges, titled, signed, and dated "Agosto 1939", in black ink on gridded spiral notebook paper, 4 leaves numbered by Borges, with numerous corrections,and deletions.

The concept of the "universal library," crystallizes, like no other Borge's literary themes- so vast, multifaceted, and undefinable as this literary concept in which the universe is reflected. This fictional essay was first published in Sur no. 59 and never republished. It is considered as the first version and precursor of the later story La Biblioteca de Babel [1941] and is one of the most significant Borges manuscripts.

A culturally important work by Borges, it shows his vision of what he later called "The Library of Babel" and is a reflection of his entire approach to philosophy of not only literature but of existence itself.


  • Creation: 1939

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.


From the Collection: 0.07 Cubic Feet (1 legal size document box and 1 oversize box) : oversize box is in the vault V-7

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States