Borges’s meditation on the Library of Babel pays homage to the idea of the library as an enchanted location, the source of sorcery and arcane learning, where the act of reading is imbued with magical, transformative properties.
Surrounded by exotically-bound books, fragile parchment rolls and musty volumes written in strange languages, the boundaries between the hero and the scholar, the physical and the fantastic are dissolved in places like Lyra Belacqua’s Bodley’s Library and the Bodleian.
Segueing between imagination and reality, it is here that scenes from the Harry Potter films were shot in the reading room where Professors Tolkien and Lewis researched historic collections and former undergraduate Alan Garner consulted demonic spellbooks.
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