OK, so Jens-Erik Mai is brilliant, and reading his stuff was one of the high points of LIS 419, but still, how is it that I have not before heard anyone theorize library 2.0/future of the library questions as an issue of postmodernism? He points out that the library as we know it is a quintessential creature of modernism and it is therefore wrecking itself on the decentralized shoals of our new world.
(Perhaps my favorite kind of idea: the kind that is utterly transparent once you see it, but you’d never come close to thinking of before.)
This also makes me wonder what the library-entity looks like when it is a reflection or distillation of some totally different philosophy or time…what’s the Enlightenment library, and how is it not the same as the library of modernism, for all that I expect we tend to conflate “Enlightenment” (or, at least, “enlightenment”) and libraries? Can you meaningfully discuss a Dadaist library?
One thought on “libraries as philosophical instances”
Is Borges’ Library of Babel (full English text at http://jubal.westnet.com/hyperdiscordia/library_of_babel.html) a Dadaist library? It is composed of a staggeringly large number of books, all of them randomly generated. In the story, cults have sprung up around the few known books with snippets of intelligible text inside. Yet the library as a whole contains all possible books.