Thursday, August 08, 2013


The Minimum

Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011), "Sash Windows Opening on the Foam" (1986), rpt. in Words of Mercury (London: John Murray, 2003), pp. 126-130 (at 126):
'Where a man’s Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica is, there shall his heart be also'; and, of course, Lemprière, Fowler, Brewer, Liddell and Scott, Dr Smith, Harrap and Larousse and a battery of atlases, bibles, concordances, Loeb classics, Pléiade editions, Oxford Companions and Cambridge histories; anthologies and books on painting, sculpture, architecture, birds, beasts, fishes, trees and stars; for if one is settling in the wilds, a dozen reference shelves is the minimum; and they must be near the dinner table where arguments spring up which have to be settled then or never.
Photograph of a bookshelf in Fermor's house, from Maggie Rainey-Smith, "Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor," A Curious Half-Hour (June 11, 2011):

Hat tip: Eric Thomson.

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