Thursday, April 12, 2007

Quotes about books and the classics

A couple of quotes from Drums (Boyd):

I love this description of Dr. Clapton's study. Doesn't it remind you of the painting "Der Buecherwurm
" by Carl Spitzweg.

(p. 70) The room was like a cave which had been roughly hewn in the heart of a mountain of books. Books lined the walls, books paved the floor, at each small window a slit of sunlight climbed in painfully over high-piled books; books encrusted the chairs along whose edges Dr. Clapton had excavated narrow perches for himself; on the upper shelves, pendant fragments of torn bindings and scraps of manuscript gave the effect of the cave’s very roof itself supporting stalactites of books.

And now, listen to Johnny's typical evening at home:
(p. 257) At night before the fire his mother hackled flax or spun yarn, his father, pipe in mouth, cut shoe pegs or, true to his ancient rearing, knitted a stocking with slow exactitude. Johnny himself spent the long evenings reading Horace and The Lives, glancing frequently from the pages to indulge in highly philosophical and disinterested reflections. Indeed he was surprised to find how pregnant the classic authors were with meaning, and with meaning particularly applicable to himself. Hardly a word which did not illustrate either the inconstancy and lightness of woman or the fortitude with which the man of upright life, confident in his own integrity, fronted adversity, misfortune, and the indifference or malignity of those whom, let it be said without rancor, nature had denied the power of appreciation.

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