The 19th century British scholar John Willis Clark once defined a library as a "gigantic mincing-machine into which the labours of the past are flung, to be turned out again in a slightly altered form as the literature of the present." Clark also regarded libraries as museums in the sense that each is "a temple or haunt of the muses," a sanctuary for the intellect where inspiration issues forth in myriad forms by way of countless sources.Read More
These thoughts came to mind as I was reading "The Library at Night," Alberto Manguel's latest reflection on the miracle of the written word, especially the sections in which the Argentine-born author pays tribute to the 30,000 books he has assembled so painstakingly over the last five decades. "My books," he writes, "hold between their covers every story I've ever known and still remember, or have now forgotten, or may one day read; they fill the space around me with ancient and new voices."
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