Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why a book? (2)

To weep, with its weight in your lap, over a man’s letter to his father
about the death of his friend, 448 years after it was written.

Upon reading Montaigne’s letter to his father
on the death of La Boétie (1563)

Michel de Montaigne: The Complete Works
Page 1,276

“In the friendship I speak of, our souls mingle and blend with each other so completely that they efface the seam that joined them, and cannot find it again. If you press me to tell why I loved him, I feel that this cannot be expressed, except by answering: Because it was he, because it was I.”

(Page 169)


Joseph Hutchison said...

Thanks for this wonderful quotation, William. I think of the many true but shallow things I've said about my parents and the loss of them, but it all comes down to this. I know plenty of people who were never granted such a relationship with their parent—the seam between them thick and dark with all manner of animosities and bitternesses. I'm lucky to have been lucky!

William Michaelian said...

I, too, Joe, and now the more so for your words here. You say “true but shallow,” but truth is never shallow. Still, we’re dogged by feelings of inadequacy in our expression of something so rich, so formative, and, as you say, so lucky.

Chris Lott said...

I'm enjoying the "why a book" entries immensely. And this one rang out with synchronicity as I've been reading my way through Montaigne's collected essays... and finding it as rewarding as they were the first time (or many times, in some cases).

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Chris. I’ve been living with Montaigne for the past few months myself, and have enjoyed your notes on the essays. The Complete Works is a brick, composed as it were of ordinary materials, and yet it possesses amazing strength.

Willy. said...

Let us descend into a book together!!
Without elevator...
And than slowly,trought the sometimes "steep" slope,leaving the world of words .

William Michaelian said...

Greetings, Willy. Yes, and that is when we finally emerge... at the source.