Thursday, June 9, 2016

Coincidental Reading

Yesterday evening at dinner some of the conversation ran on unsatisfactory books we have read through one or the other of the book clubs we belong to. Once home, and while about to settle into bed, I opened a volume of Novalis, and found a paragraph running roughly
Many books are longer than they appear. They have in fact no end. The boredom that they arouse is truly absolute and infinite. [A series of unknown--to me--authors] have produced excellent examples of this sort. It is a a collection that everyone can add to from among the books of this sort that he knows.

(Fragment 103 in the section "Pollen" of Fragments and Letters, Werke und Briefe, Winkler-Verlag, Munich, 1968.)

If absolute and infinite boredom requires temporal infinity, then I must disagree. If it simply implies complete indifference to a book and despair of ever overcoming that indifference, then I have some candidate volumes.

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