Bookshelves

November 6, 2019

 

 

If you were to ask me if there was anything that I believed in, I should have to say: bookshelves on the walls of a private house. Civilisation in Europe - and, doubtless, in America too - seems to be maintained by families for their own sake. If I owe my identity to this phenomenon, you could hardly be surprised. The individual naturally associates all that is good and decent with that which has made him. The struggle of this individual with the brute beauty of nature determines the value of personal comforts. The greater the struggle to exist in the face of what must ultimately kill him, the greater the value of the books.

 

I remember waking up in various places unknown to me, looking up, seeing a collection of books in several languages, and knowing that everything would probably be alright. There would be coffee, and cigarettes. Comings and goings at irregular hours would be smiled upon. There would be women, understanding, a respect for the spoken word - as well as the written.

 

The inability of the law to penetrate such places constitutes much of their attraction. So too does their existence at the ends of circuitous routes and behind various doors and staircases. I have never been happier than when in bed, not alone, high above the ground, stocked with cigarettes and tranquilisers, my location unknown to all who might wish to find me.

 

The freedom to talk for hours without interruption or fear of judgment, to explore ideas and encounter new ones, to set about pleasure as though it were a worthy pursuit and not something to be avoided, these to me represent the ideals that justify bourgeois society and all that goes along with it. One's ability to move freely through this hovering labyrinth of bowers and balconies is also essential.

 

There is nothing so pleasant as meeting a lover, except for leaving again afterwards, knowing that you can come back. Brief pauses in adventure, such as I suppose I am eulogising are, if anything, even more pleasant than the thing itself. A moment alone to yourself, even just a cigarette, constitutes everything that is luxurious about company.

 

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