Thursday, June 18, 2020


Enthusiasm for Books

Cicero, Letters to Atticus 1.11.3 (tr. D.R. Shackleton Bailey):
Mind you don't hand over your books to anybody. Keep them for me, as you say you will. I am consumed with enthusiasm for them, as with disgust for all things else. It's unbelievable in how short a time how much worse you will find them than you left them.

libros vero tuos cave cuiquam tradas; nobis eos, quem ad modum scribis, conserva. summum me eorum studium tenet, sicut odium iam ceterarum rerum; quas tu incredibile est quam brevi tempore quanto deteriores offensurus sis quam reliquisti.
Thanks very much to Eric Thomson (friend and fellow bibliomaniac) for directing my attention to T. Keith Dix, "'Beware of promising your library to anyone': Assembling a private library at Rome," in Jason König et al., edd., Ancient Libraries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 209-234 (on Cicero's library).

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