Friday, November 8, 2013

"A book melts and shifts in the memory."

"To grasp the shadowy & phantasmal form of a book,
to hold it fast, to turn it over and survey it at leisure--
that is the effort of a critic of books, and it is perpetually

Nothing, no power, will keep a book steady & motionless
before us, so that we may have time to examine its shape
& design. As quickly as we read, it melts & shifts in
the memory.

Even at the moment when the last page is turned,
a great part of the book, its finer detail, is already
vague and doubtful.

A little later, after a few days or months, how much
is really left of it? A cluster of impressions, some
clear points emerging from a mist of uncertainty, this
is all we can hope to possess . . . in the name of a book."

-Percy Lubbock, The Craft of Fiction (1931)

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