"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

'I've been reading a good deal. Eight or ten hours a day. I've attended lectures at the Sorbonne. I think I've read everything that's important in French literature and I can read Latin, at least Latin prose, almost as easily as I can read French. Of course Greek's morŠµ difficult. But I have a very good teacher. Until you came here I used to go to him three evenings a week.' 'And what is that going to lead to?' 'The acquisition of knowledge,' he smiled. 'It doesn't sound very practical.' 'Perhaps it isn't and on the other hand perhaps it is. But it's enormous fun. You can't imagine what a thrill it is to read the Odyssey in the original. It makes you feel as if you had only to get on tiptoe and stretch out your hands to touch the stars.'

[Study: W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge]

Posted by rebeccap on 12.09.2010

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