Monday, February 20, 2012


What a Lot of Books!

Anatole France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard, chapter IV (tr. Lafcadio Hearn):
"What a lot of books!" she screamed. "And have you really read them all, Monsieur Bonnard?"

"Alas! I have," I replied, "and that is just the reason that I do not know anything; for there is not a single one of those books which does not contradict some other book; so that by the time one has read them all one does not know what to think about anything. That is just my condition, Madame."
In French:
"Que de livres!" s'écria-t-elle. "Et vous les avez tous lus, monsieur Bonnard?"

"Hélas! oui," répondis-je, "et c'est pour cela que je ne sais rien du tout, car il n'y a pas un de ces livres qui n'en démente un autre, en sorte que, quand on les connaît tous, on ne sait que penser. J'en suis là, madame."
Jacob Eberhard Gailer, in
Neuer Orbis Pictus für die Jugend (1842)

Related post: Have You Read Them All?

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