Monday, June 10, 2019


A Most Extraordinary Talent

Montesquieu (1689-1755), Persian Letters 80 (tr. Margaret Mauldon):
On the subject of taciturnity, there are some individuals, vastly more peculiar than the Carthusians, who possess a most extraordinary talent. I refer to those who are able to talk without saying anything, and who can drag out a conversation for two hours, without it being possible to determine anything about them or their thoughts, or to plagiarize them, or to retain one single word of what they have said.

À propos de gens taciturnes, il y en a de bien plus singuliers que ceux-là, et qui ont un talent bien extraordinaire. Ce sont ceux qui savent parler sans rien dire, et qui amusent une conversation pendant deux heures de temps, sans qu'il soit possible de les déceler, d’être leur plagiaire, ni de retenir un mot de ce qu'ils ont dit.

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