"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]

'What is man, that he conceives projects!' And there were other projects I toyed with...They dance before me like miserable mosquitos on a dim wall no longer illuminated by the bright sun of a happy time, each of them engorged with a drop of my blood.

[writing: Hugo Hofmannsthal, ]

Posted by rp on 03.27.2011

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I went out of that gallery and into another and still larger one, which at first glance reminded me of a military chapel hung with tattered flags. The brown and charred rags that hung from the sides of it, I presently recognised as the decaying vestiges of books. They had long since dropped to pieces, and every semblance of print had left them. But here and there were warped boards and cracked metallic clasps that told the tale well enough. Had I been a literary man I might, perhaps, have moralised upon the futility of all ambition. But as it was, the thing that struck me with keenest force was the enormous waste of labour to which this sombre wilderness of rotting paper testified. At the time I will confess that I thought chiefly of the Philosophical Transactions and my own seventeen papers on physical optics.

[: hg wells, time machine]

Posted by rp on 02.04.2011

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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

[growth: Anis Nin, ]

Posted by rp on 01.12.2011

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Collections unite. Collections isolate. They unite those who love the same thing...they isolate from those who don't share the passion.

[collections: Susan Sontag, The Volcano Lover]

Posted by rp on 01.11.2011

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A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth glancing at.

[Utopia: Oscar Wilde, ]

Posted by rp on 11.23.2010

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“No one really dreams any longer of the Blue Flower. The dream has grown gray. The gray coating of dust on things is its best part. Dreams are now a shortcut to banality. Technology consigns the outer image of things to a long farewell, like banknotes that are bound to lose their value.”


[: Walter Benjamin, Dream Kitsch]

Posted by rp on 10.18.2010

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Death aims with fouler spite At fairer marks.

[Death: Francis Quarles, ]

Posted by rp on 07.27.2010

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The world's a book, writ by the eternal art - Of the great author printed in man's heart, 'Tis falsely printed, though divinely penned, And all the errata will appear at the end.

[on the world: Francis Quarles, Divine Fancies]

Posted by rp on 07.27.2010

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Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle, Should let itself be snuffed out by an Article.

[criticism: Byron, on Keats' savaging by critics, ]

Posted by rp on 11.08.2009

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The willow tree at the bottom of my garden is pumping downy seeds into the air. It is raining instructions out there; it's raining programs; it's raining tree-growing, fluff-spreading, algorithms. This is not a metaphor, it is the plain truth. It couldn't be any plainer if it were raining floppy disks. It is raining DNA.

[: Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker]

Posted by rp on 09.28.2009

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'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' - that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

[: Keats, ]

Posted by rp on 09.28.2009

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Thus there is in the life of a collector a dialectical tension between the poles of order and disorder. Naturally, his existence is tied to many other things as well: to a very mysterious relationship to ownership...also to a relationship to objects which does not emphasize their functional, utilitarian value...One has only to watch a collector handle the objects in his glass case. As he holds them in his hands, he seems to be seeing through them into their distant past as though inspired.

[collecting: Walter Benjamin, Illuminations]

Posted by rp on 09.28.2009

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Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. At this point many of you will remember with pleasure the large library which Jean Paul's poor little schoolmaster Wutz gradually acquired by writing, himself, all of the works whose titles interested him in book fair catalogues; after all, he could not afford to buy them. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.

[: Walter Benjamin, Illuminations]

Posted by rp on 09.28.2009

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Museums: Cemeteries!...Identical, surely, in the sinister promiscuity of so many bodies unknown to one another. Museums: public dormitories where one lies forever beside hated or unknown beings...Turn aside the canals to flood the museums!

[Museums: Marinetti, ]

Posted by rp on 09.24.2009

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Our civilization will leave to the future ages only its roundhouses and its railroad tracks. Scholars will perish trying to decipher the inscriptions.

[: Guillaume Apollinaire to Max Jacob, ]

Posted by rp on 09.24.2009

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