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Quote Unquote [1]

We’ll let Ralph Waldo Emerson explain the reason for this feature. We hope we can keep it going. He said, in Quotation and Originality: “By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.” And herewith the quote of the week:

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading. [Logan Pearsall Smith, Afterthoughts]

Smith (1865-1946) was an American essayist, critic, and a prolific author, famed for numerous aphorisms and epigrams, the above being a sample. He came from Millville, New Jersey—but the place evidently lacked sufficient reading material. Smith soon departed. He studied at Harvard and later at Balliol College in Oxford. He settled in England and became a British citizen.

Logan Pearsall Smith’s saying is often attributed to Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). We’re not surprised. Borges’ views and personality suggest the same sentiment. He lived his life in his mind, in his imagination. He was also much involved with books beyond just writing them. At one stage in his life he was the director of the National Library of Argentina—and one of his most famous and wondrous short stories was The Library of Babel. To this we might add that Borges translated the works of Emanuel Swedenborg into Spanish and may have picked up bits about heaven (and hell). Swedenborg, of course, had direct converse with the angels. No, Borges did not invent our quote of the week—but he did repeat it in at least one radio interview he gave. But he was, well, like we are—quoting. His interviewer just didn’t realize that. But what Borges actually did say on this subject comes quite close. He once said, and we quote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”


2 Responses

  1. Oh , my this is lovely! Have I died and gone to Dwarf Palnet?

  2. Well, there are worse places to end up!

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