Wednesday, January 18, 2006

On the importance of books

I just thought I'd post a quote for all the book collectors out there:

The life of a good book, is far longer than the life of a man. Its author dies, and his generation dies, and his successors are born and die; the world he knew disappears, and new orders which he could not forsee are established on its ruins; law, religion, science, commerce, society, all are transformed into shapes which would astound him; but his book continues to live. Long after he and his epoch are dead, the book speks with his voice. - Gilbert Highet

This view may explain why everyone wants to write a great novel before they die - books are a sure path to immortality.

More than that, the book itself, as a physical object, becomes a primary source of historical insight into the period in which it was produced; from it inferences can be made into the state of the world in another time and place, seperate from the lesson the book is trying to communicate.

I took this quote from A Passion for Books by Lawrence Clark Powell. Powell was a librarian's librarian, book lover, and authority on writing about California and the Southwest. His books are great reading for the book collector, and are in turn collectable in their own right.



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