Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two or three witnesses to books

Before I received my Christmas present of Bayard's - How to talk about books you haven't read - I had already quoted from it, but even now, I forget the quote. So here is another: (Bayard 2007, p8).
Musil's librarian thus keeps himself from entering into the books under his care, but he is far from indifferent or hostile toward them, as one might suppose. On the contrary, it is his love of books - of all books - that incites him to remain prudently on their periphery, for fear that too pronounced an interest in one of them might cause him to neglect the others.
Of course, as I read this, I immediately applied it to our canonical texts:
... thus keeps himself from entering into the books of the Bible under his care, but he is far from indifferent or hostile toward them, as one might suppose. On the contrary, it is his love of the books of the Bible - of all these books - that incites him to remain prudently on their periphery, for fear that too pronounced an interest in one of them might cause him to neglect the others.
I can certainly appreciate this, but now, having like a bird pecked my way into the ripeness of the Psalter and its strongly fermented liquors, or having wormed my way into the heavy and seductive nectar of its seedy core, I can scarcely read or hear another word without reference to the distilled inebriation of spirit I find myself in.

A friend gave me this book independently of the lovely videos from NYPL shared by BLT.