segunda-feira, 22 de junho de 2009


UMBERTO ECO: We don’t have read all the books we pretend to know. But, we know them pretty well. I want to—I have a small library of no more than 50,000 books and only 30,000 in my main apartment in Milan. And it happens to everybody when an idiot comes there, he say, "How many books have you read, all of them?" So there are three standard answers. One was a friend of mine who said, "Many more, sir, many more." (laughter) And the second is, "No. Why otherwise I should keep them here?" (laughter) The third is, "No. The ones I have read are at the public library. Those the ones I have to read the next week." (laughter) So they are distraught that—okay. But, but. The second answer is the most, the most serious. Why otherwise I would keep them there. A library is a guarantee for your memory, huh? If you need something, you know it’s there. But you are continuously ravaged by remorse. I have not read that, I have not read that. Then, one day in your life, you pick up a book you’ve had there since thirty years, and you were convinced not to have read it. You open it, and you realize that you know it perfectly.

So there three theories. One is a sort of awkward theory. There is a sort of transfiguration, (laughter) what you’ve touched, you’ve touched it and the animal spirits of the book—yes. The second is that you believe not to have read it, but in the course of thirty years you have picked up, you know, the….you have opened it, you have read two pages. The third is that in the course of those thirty years you have read many, many books who spoke, talked about that. And so, at the final end, you discover that you know the book very well. So that is a way by which we know the content of many books we have not read. And that is a guarantee of knowledge and of advancement of learning.

in, "How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read", Pierre Bayard & Umberto Eco with Paul Holddengraber, The New York Public Library, 17 de Novembro de 2007 - reproduzido (parcialmente) na revista francesa (Junho 2009), Magazine Littéraire [p. 12-15].