Emily: The Library of Babel

Emily Fu’s mandala tattoo is not quite what it appears to be at first glance. A closer look reveals that it is a representation of the infinite library found in the story, “The Library of Babel,” by Jorge Luis Borges. [If you’ve never read that story, it’s a great one you can find here.] Her tattoo was done by Brian Mullen of Art Freek Tattoo, Providence, RI. Emily explains the inspiration for her tattoo:

My first tattoo was based on an etching by Desmazieres of the infinite library from Borges’s short story “The Library of Babel.” The story’s exploration of the ways people choose to live in a world of limitless knowledge has meant a lot to me, as does its author. Borges was the first poet I read, and I love being able to carry his library with me.

From the story: Perhaps my old age and fearfulness deceive me, but I suspect that the human species — the unique species — is about to be extinguished, but the Library will endure: illuminated, solitary, infinite, perfectly motionless, equipped with precious volumes, useless, incorruptible, secret.