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Member: Peter_Bookling

CollectionsYour library (2,380)


Tagshistory (949), English literature (512), art history (456), short stories (392), cultural history (322), exhibition catalogues (306), anthologies (273), nineteenth century (240), Latin America (199), science fiction (173) — see all tags

MediaNot set (81), Book (2,298), Paper Book (2,195), Other (1)

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About my libraryO, dooden die noch zijt, ô Boecken die ick eere,
En soo gemackelick en soo geern mé verkeere,
Hoe komt gy my te stae, dien 't ydele gerucht
Van dagelicks geklapp noch vreughd en geeft noch vrucht?
Waer ick my henen wend', ick vind mijn' arme ooren
Soo veel onlijdelicks gedwongen aen te hooren,
Dat ick het schouw en vlucht, en bergh my onder u.
Want, schoon de Wereld eer niet wijser waer als nu,
(Ick vrees sy was 't nochtans; en sie geen' Sterren lichten
Dien 't voor die van eertijds niet toe en stae te swichten)
Dit weet ick, wat Papier bevolen is geweest,
Was sekerlick de vrucht van een' bedaerden geest:
Die Schrijver satt'er toe, en waer het in 't vermogen
Van sijn vernuft geweest sijn selven t'overpoogen,
En doen meer dan hy deed', en beter dan hy schreef,
Het hadd in 't Witt gestaen: de schael hingh recht en scheef,
En wipte menighmael ter slincker en ter rechter,
Eer hy, sijn eigen Roe, sijn eigen scherpe Rechter,
Het vonniss vellen dorst, en seggen eens op 't lest,
Ick weet het nauwer niet te siften, dit's mijn best.

Constantijn Huygens, Zee-straet (1666/1667), r. 237-256

For Books are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of life in them to be as active as that soule was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragons teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other hand, unlesse warinesse be us'd, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods Image; but hee who destroyes a good Booke, kills reason it selfe, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the Earth; but a good Booke is the pretious life-blood of a master spirit, imbalm'd and treasur'd up on purpose to a life beyond life. 'Tis true, no age can restore a life, whereof perhaps there is no great losse; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the losse of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole Nations fare the worse. We should be wary therefore what persecution we raise against the living labours of publick men, how we spill that season'd life of man preserv'd and stor'd up in Books; since we see a kinde of homicide may be thus committed, sometimes a martyrdome, and if it extend to the whole impression, a kinde of massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the slaying of an elementall life, but strikes at that ethereall and fift essence, the breath of reason it selfe, slaies an immortality rather then a life.

John Milton, Areopagitica (1644)

When there is possession, there must be loss of possession; when there is gathering together, there must be a scattering—this is the constant principle in things. Someone loses a bow; another person finds a bow; what's so special in that? The reason why I have recorded this story from beginning to end in such detail is to let it serve as a warning for scholars and collectors in later generations.

Li Qingzhao, 'Epilogue to Records on Metal and Stone', translated by Stephen Owen in his An Anthology of Chinese Literature, Beginnings to 1911, New York: W.W. Norton, 1996, p.596

I even consulted the worms in the books, to tell me what was in the texts they were chewing.
"Dear Sir," replied a long fat worm, "we know absolutely nothing about the texts we chew, neither do we decide what we chew, neither do we love or hate what we chew; we just chew."
I could get no more out of him. As if the word had been passed along, all the others told the same story. Perhaps this discreet silence about the texts they were chewing was another way of chewing what had already been chewed.

From: Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

And for this purpose I will commend to your majesty four principal works and monuments of yourself: First, the collecting of a most perfect and general library, wherein whatsoever the wit of man hath hitherto committed to books of worth, be they ancient or modern, printed or manuscript, European or of other parts, of one or other language, may be made contributory to your wisdom. Next, a spacious, wonderful garden, wherein whatsoever plant the sun of diverse climates, out of the earth of diverse molds, either wild or by the culture of man, brought forth, may be, with that care that appertaineth to the good prospering thereof , set and cherished ; this garden to be built about with rooms to stable in all rare beasts and to cage in all rare birds, with two lakes adjoining, the one of fresh water, the other of salt, for like variety of fishes. And so you may have in small compass a model of universal nature made private. The third, a goodly huge cabinet, wherein whatsoever the hand of man by exquisite art or engine hath made rare in stuff, form, or motion; whatsoever singularity, chance, and the shuffle of things hath produced; whatsoever nature hath wrought in things that want life and may be kept, shall be sorted and included. The fourth, such a still-house, so furnished with mills, instruments, furnaces, and vessels as may be a palace fit for a philosopher's stone. Thus, when your excellency shall have added depth of knowledge to the fineness of your spirits and greatness of your power, then indeed shall you be a Trismegistus, and then when all other miracles and wonders shall cease, by reason that you shall have discovered their natural causes, yourself shall be left the only miracle and wonder of the world.

Attributed to Francis Bacon, from the 'Gesta Grayorum', an account of the Christmas revels by the law students at Gray's Inn in 1594

GroupsBooks about Peru

Favorite authorsIsaac Asimov, Jane Austen, Paul Auster, J. G. Ballard, Frédéric L. Bastet, Jaime Bayly, David B., Thea Beckman, Algernon Blackwood, Ray Bradbury, Katharine Mary Briggs, Mikhail Bulgakov, Caroline Walker Bynum, Italo Calvino, Angela Carter, Willa Cather, Michael Chabon, Aidan Chambers, Paul Claes, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Louis Couperus, Michael Cunningham, Roald Dahl, Laurens De Keyzer, Philip K. Dick, Tonke Dragt, Willem Elsschot, Michel Faber, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Neil Gaiman, Eduardo Galeano, Carlo Ginzburg, Robert Graves, Ursula K. Le Guin, Hella S. Haasse, Margriet Heymans, Susan Hill, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Alan Hollinghurst, Shirley Jackson, M. R. James, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Hubert Lampo, David Leavitt, Claude Lecouteux, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Astrid Lindgren, Mario Vargas Llosa, H. P. Lovecraft, Lucian, Arthur Machen, Richard Matheson, Peter Matthiessen, Ian McDonald, Patrick McGrath, Mike Mignola, Walter Moers, Alan Moore, Alice Munro, Hélène Nolthenius, Edgar Allan Poe, Tim Powers, Anton Quintana, Jean Ray, Mary Renault, Alastair Reynolds, Anne Rice, Philip Roth, Robert Sheckley, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Clark Ashton Smith, Neal Stephenson, Rosemary Sutcliff, Paul Theroux, Theo Thijssen, Colin Thubron, J. R. R. Tolkien, Marten Toonder, Paul Vandenbroeck, Simon Vestdijk, Marina Warner, Sarah Waters, Edmund White, Thornton Wilder, Gene Wolfe, John Wyndham, Wim Zaal, Roger Zelazny, Isabelle de Charrière, Floortje Zwigtman (Shared favorites)


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Member sinceAug 16, 2007

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