Famous quotes explained: « Reading all good books is like having a conversation with the most honest people of past centuries. »Descartes, Discourse on Method, 1637.
This quote about reading from the great rationalist philosopher of the 17th century establishes firstly the timelessness of writing. It traverses epochs. Descartes himself is still read today.
Furthermore, the quote suggests that only « good books » survive the test of time, changing fashions, and forgetfulness. Time is presented as a judge, an arbiter of the quality of works. If a work continues to please, teach, inspire, and move people centuries after its publication, it is because it possesses a universal message. (This reasoning is also valid for works of art.)
Descartes also links a work to the personality of its author. For him, only the most honest people, that is, the most honorable individuals, write good books. It may be necessary to temper the philosopher’s ardor here, since despicable characters like Céline have been able to write masterpieces.
Finally, the most important point of this statement appears in the term conversation. Ultimately, reading is about exchanging with another person, with the author. This exchange takes place only between two people for each reading, for each reader: him or her and the author. Certainly, this conversation is expressed only in one direction from the author, whose words are his or her writings, to the reader, who cannot respond. However, the words create thoughts and images in the reader’s mind that constitute a response to the author, even if he or she cannot hear it. What is fascinating about a book is that a person who has been dead for centuries, even millennia, can still speak to us intimately in the 21st century!
Reading all good books is like having a conversation with the most honest people of past centuries.
Links to Another quotes: Famous quotes explained: « tyrants are only great because we are on our knees », Discourse on Voluntary Servitude La Boétie, 1576.Famous quotes explained: « Politeness consists in appearing to forget oneself for others », The Lily of the Valley, Balzac, 1836. Famous quotes explained: « And to esteem everyone is to esteem nothing », The Misanthrope, Molière, 1667.Famous quotes explained: « Work keeps three great evils away from us: boredom, vice, and need. », Candide, Voltaire, 1759. Famous quotes explained: « Without the freedom to criticize, there is no genuine praise. » Act V, Scene 3., The Marriage of Figaro, Beaumarchais, 1784.Famous quotes explained: « One must eat to live, not live to eat. »The Miser, Act III, Scene V, Molière, 1668. Famous Quotes explained: « In war, it is the war of men; in peace, it is the war of ideas. », Fragments, Hugo, 1885. Famous Quotes explained: « I am weary of museums, cemeteries of the arts. » , Lamartine, Voyage en Orient, 1835. Famous Quotes Explained: « What is well conceived is clearly expressed. And the words to say it come easily. », Nicolas Boileau, The Art of Poetry, 1674. Famous Quotes Explained: « One sees clearly with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes. », The Little Prince, Saint-Exupéry, 1943. Famous quotes explained: « Education is given by the family; instruction is owed by the state. », Victor Hugo, Words and deeds, 1876. Famous Quotes explained: « One person is missing, and everything is depopulated. » Méditations poétiques, « L’Isolement », Lamartine, 1820. Famous quotes explained: « To love is to know how to say ‘I love you’ without speaking. » Victor Hugo
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3 commentaires sur “Famous quotes explained: « Reading all good books is like having a conversation with the most honest people of past centuries. »Descartes, Discourse on Method, 1637.”
Ping : Famous quotes explained: « We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones », Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , Julie Verne, 1870. - Les Cours Julien
Ping : Famous quotes explained: « Laws are always useful to those who possess and harmful to those who have nothing. », The Social Contract,Rousseau, 1762. - Les Cours Julien
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