10 July 2008

The Library of the Universe

Picking my way through Foucault's The Order of Things, slowly. Nice quote on universal language projects of the seventeenth century:
In so far as language can represent all representations it is with good reason the element of the universal. There must exist within it at least the possibility of a language that will gather into itself, between its words, the totality of the world, and inversely, the world, as the totality of what is representable, must be able to become, in its totality, an Encyclopaedia. And Charles Bonnet's great dream merges at this point with what language is in its connection and kinship with representation:

"I delight in envisaging the innumerable multitude of Worlds as so many books which, when collected together, compose the immense Library of the Universe or the true Universal Encyclopaedia."
-Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (85-6)

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