I always assume that a good book is more intelligent than its author. It can say things that the writer is not aware of.
Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.
A book is a fragile creature, it suffers the wear of time, it fears rodents, the elements and clumsy hands. so the librarian protects the books not only against mankind but also against nature and devotes his life to this war with the forces of oblivion.
Your masters at Oxford have taught you to idolize reason, drying up the prophetic capacities of your heart!
There, Master Niceties,’ Baudolino said, ‘when I was not prey to the temptations of this world, I devoted my nights to imagining other worlds. A bit with the help of wine, and a bit with that of the green honey. There is nothing better than imagining other worlds,’ he said, ‘to forget the painful one we live in. At least so I thought then. I hadn’t yet realized that, imagining other worlds, you end up changing this one.
The good thing about the stadium is the that you learn from your teachers, true, but even more from your fellows, especially those older than you, when they tell you what they have read, and you discover that the world must be full of wondrous things and to know them all – since a lifetime will not be a enough for you to travel through the whole world – you can only read all the books.
The art of splitting hairs four ways. This is the department of useless techniques. Mechanical Avunculogratulation, for example, is how to build machines for greeting uncles. We’re not sure, though, if Pylocatabasis belongs, since it’s the art of being saved by a hair. Somehow that doesn’t seem completely useless.
Then we are living in a place abandoned by God,” I said, disheartened. “Have you found any places where God would have felt at home?” William asked me, looking down from his great height.
The west has decided to channel money and effort into studying other customs and practices, but no one has really given other people the chance to study western customs and practices, except at schools maintained by white expatriates, or by allowing the rich from other cultures to study in Oxford or Paris. What happens then is that they return home to organised fundamentalist movements, because they feel solidarity with those of their compatriots who lack the opportunity for such education.