De Amerikaanse schrijver, humorist en criticus Joe Queenan werd geboren op 3 november 1950 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Zie ook mijn blog van 3 november 2010 en eveneens alle tags voor Joe Queenan op dit blog.
Uit:One For The Books
“There are many sad and beautiful stories about books. After being banished to a backwater on the edge of the Black Sea, Ovid wrote a eulogy in honor of his nemesis Augustus Caesar in the language of the barbarians that inhabited the region. Both the eulogy and the language have disappeared. Homer wrote a comic epic that has vanished. Fifteen hundred of Lope de Vega’s plays are no longer with us. Almost all of Aeschylus’s work – seventy-three plays out on loan from the Greeks — went up in flames when cultural pyromaniacs burned down the library of Alexandria in A.D. 640. Only seven plays remain.
Electronic books will ensure that these tragedies—described in Stuart Kelly’s The Book of Lost Books — never reoccur. That’s wonderful, but I’d still rather have the books. For me and for all those like me, books are sacred vessels. Postcards and photos and concert programs and theater tickets and train schedules are souvenirs; books are connective tissue. Books possess alchemical powers, imbued with the ability to turn darkness into light, ennui into ecstasy, a drab, predictable life behind the Iron Curtain into something stealthily euphoric. Or so book lovers believe. The tangible reality of books defines us, just as the handwritten scrolls of the Middle Ages defined the monks who concealed them from barbarians. We believe that the objects themselves have magical powers.
People who prefer e-books may find this baffling or silly. They think that books merely take up space. This is true, but so do your children and Prague and the Sistine Chapel. A noted scientific writer recently argued that the physical copy of a book was an unimportant fetish, that books were “like the coffin at a funeral.” Despite such comments, I am not all that worried about the future of books. If books survived the Huns, the Vandals, and the Nazis, they can surely survive noted scientific writers. One friend says that in the future “books will be beautifully produced, with thick paper, and ribbons, and proper bindings.” People who treasure books will expect them to look like treasures. And so they will have ribbons. Another says, wistfully, that books will survive “as a niche, a bit like taking a carriage ride in Central Park. But more than that.”
Joe Queenan (Philadelphia, 3 november 1950)