There is a world in which ages are not equal, the sexes not undifferentiated, roles not equivalent and civilisations not easily confused with one another.
There is a world in which the ignorant are not the equal of the learned, the oral does not have the same ‘voice’ as the written, nor the vulgus as the atomos, nor barbarians as civilised beings.
There is another world.
There is a world that belongs to the shore of the Lethe.
That shore is memory.
It is the world of novels and sonatas, the world of the pleasure of naked bodies that love the half-closed blind or the world of the dream that loves it even more closed, to the point where it feigns the darkness of night or contrives it.
It is the world of magpies on graves.
It is the world of solitude required for reading books or listening to music.
The world of tepid silence and idle semi-darkness where thought drifts, then suddenly seethes with excitement.
Pascal Quignard, The Roving Shadows. trans. Chris Turner. Seagull Books, 2011 (2002)
Revisiting an old friend, my first Quignard and one of those coincidences that provides much joy: I had forgotten that The Roving Shadows is, in part, a tribute to Junichiro Tanizaki’s In Praise of Shadows, which Des has highly recommended to me. It was awaiting me under the Christmas tree this morning.