Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Giacomo Leopardi (Commonplace Book)

Since blogs can easily act as commonplace books -- like W.H. Auden's A Certain World -- I thought I would post quotations at least once a week in addition to my regular postings. This way I can collect things that I think are quite good even when I don't have anything specific to say about them.

This week I give you Giacomo Leopardi:
No profession is as sterile as that of literature. Yet pretense is so valuable in the world that with its aid even literature becomes edifying. Pretense is the soul, so to speak, of the social life and is an art without which no other art of faculty, considered according to its effects on the human mind, can be perfect. Consider the fortunes of two persons, one of true value in every way, the other of false value. You will find that the latter is more fortunate than the former; indeed the false one is usually fortunate, the true one unfortunate. Pretense makes an effect even if truth be lacking, but truth without pretense can do nothing. Nor does this arise, I think, from our evil inclinations, but because bare truth is always an impoverished thing, and hence if we would delight or move men we must use illusion and heightening, and promise more and better than we can give. Nature herself is an impostor with man, and renders his life likeable and bearable chiefly by means of imagination and illusion.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Geoff Klock said...

It was removed because it was spam.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Geoff Klock said...

spam