Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Library Of Heaven

'In my Father's house there are many bookselves. If it were not so. I would have told you.'

The Library of Heaven (which unlike that of Babel contains nothing unintelligible) contains not only every book every written, every book whose intention every existed, and every work ever referenced even in metafictive jest but also every book experienced.

Thus for a work, say Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, there exists along the long 'human-ward' axis of the Library's multi-dimensional shelves, copies that flare
with the brilliance of each reader's separate responses - one for every reading from a person's first perusal to their last familiar browsing. Copies which peter out in intractable verbiage in Chapter twelve where once a schoolchild faltered and copies with the additional epilogues and sequelia of the avid reader's imagination. Reading along the human-ward access in chronologic order, the browser finds the texts read by Dickens himself and by his proof-readers and friends and then that read by the first purchaser and onward unto the last mortal reading in dim futurity. In human-axis-space books begin with a needle point and swell to their fullest readership - budding into exotic blooms of manifold translations each with their own scarlet traceries, and then die back into a grey thread of college students, intellectuals, and lovers of obscurity until the end of their worldly experience.

Along the author-ward axis books are followed by their chronological offspring, both those of the writer, and those of the books influenced by the works, so that Lovecraft follows Bierce and Machen, and the thread of an argument or the occurrence of an image or the unfolding of a form can be picked out in real time. In the author-ward axis books open outwards forever influencing and begating influences anew and even the obscurest work sows somewhere the seeds of offspring if only in a crop of 'would-be-better' rejoinders and reactions.

Along the character-ward axis are found the varied and multiplex accounts of many authors, who have chosen to follow a specific fictional persona. This special case of the influential branches through the galleries of bright ephemeral pastiche and the stony gardens of works undertaken to renew copyrights, with their gravestone hewn images. Here may be found every story of Sherlock Holmes, or Batman, or the Doctor, of Theseus, of God. Every story, from the tales children make in crayon of the vast adventures blazoned across their wide imaginations, to the last writing-for- hire makework of the last hack working to a dwindling audience. Every tribute to the giants, every satire at their expense, every Hemlock Soames, and every Solar Pons, every Mycroft and every Moriarty.

All this in one wing of the vast arrays. For it is only the literature of humanity, and only that of its mortality.

In the Library there are also the books of worlds other than those of humanity and of other universes of humanity, books never imagined in our history, and above them the books written by the transmortals who have the eternities to pick and choose among the books of mortality as a child picks up its choice from the golden covered volumes in the sunlight of a glorious afternoon.

Simon BJ

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