Rabelais’ imagination

Rabelais could read Latin, Greek, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic and several dialects of French; he had studied theology, law, medicine, architecture, botany, archaeology and astronomy; he enriched the French language with more than eight hundred words and dozens of idioms, many of which are still used in Acadian Canada.309 His imaginary library is the fruit of a mind too active to stop and record its thoughts, and his Gargantuan epic is a hodgepodge of episodes that allows the reader almost any choice of sequence, meaning, tone and even argument.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

Maybe the Internet will deliver us?

Robinson Crusoe explains, “It may not be amiss for all people who shall meet my story to make this just observation from it, viz., how frequently in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into it, is the most dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very same means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again.” This, of course, is not Crusoe speaking, but Defoe-the reader of so many books.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

Recording the evolution of our intellectual creations

To this self-alienation we have now added
the alienation of our own ideas, and enjoy watching
the destruction of our own past. We no longer record the
evolution of our intellectual creations. To a future
observer, it will appear that our ideas were born fully
developed, like Athena from her father’s brow-except
that, since our historical vocabulary will be forgotten, the
cliche will mean nothing.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

The past is irrelevant to the web user?

The past (the tradition that leads to our electronic
present) is, for the Web user, irrelevant, since all that
counts is what is currently displayed. Compared to a
book that betrays its age in its physical aspect, a text
called up on the screen has no history.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

The past is irrelevant to the web user?

The past (the tradition that leads to our electronic
present) is, for the Web user, irrelevant, since all that
counts is what is currently displayed. Compared to a
book that betrays its age in its physical aspect, a text
called up on the screen has no history.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel