Friday, July 18, 2008

A Cluster of Quotes on Books

"Jonathan still had a good bit of coin left after the purchase, and he considered that it would likely be folly of some sort to return upriver with too much money. They'd probably just get waylaid and robbed by highwaymen or goblins. Therefore, all things considered, it would be wise to spend most of the rest of his money on books. Few thieves, when you think about it, bother stealing books. They either don't go in much for reading or would have an impossible time carting away the books." ---James P. Blaylock, The Elfin Ship.

Felix Kennaston, an author, considers his Uncle Henry's inherited library:
"And besides,--so Kennaston's thoughts strayed at times--, these massed books, which his predecessor at Alcluid had acquired piecemeal through the term of a long life, were a part of that predecessor's personality. No other man would have gathered and have preserved precisely the same books, and each book, with varying forcefulness, had entered into his predecessor's mind and tinged it. These parti-colored books, could one but reconstruct the mosaic correctly, would give a candid portrait of "your Uncle Henry in Lichfield," which would perhaps surprise all those who had known old Henry Kennaston daily in the flesh. Of the fact that these were unusual books their present owner and tentative explorer had no doubt whatever. They were perturbing books." ---James Branch Cabell, The Cream of the Jest.

"I spent the afternoon and evening...beginning to re-read The Well At The World's End. I was anxious to see whether the old spell still worked. It does--rather too well. This going back to books read at that age is humiliating: one keeps on tracing what are now quite big thing's in one's mental outfit to curiously small sources. I wonder how much even of my feeling for external nature comes out of the brief, convincing little descriptions of mountains and woods in this book." ---C. S. Lewis, All My Road Before Me.

This last quote in particular has been much in my mind lately, what with my remembrance of things past.

No comments: