David Barnett Lurie

Wm. Theodore and Fanny Brett de Bary and Class of 1941 Collegiate Professor of Asian Humanities and Associate Professor of Japanese History and Literature

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

The people of bygone ages seem infinitely remote from us. We do not feel justified in ascribing to them any underlying intentions beyond those they formally express; we are amazed when we come upon a sentiment more or less akin to what we feel today in a Homeric hero, or a skillful tactical feint by Hannibal during the battle of Cannae, where he let his flank be driven back in order to take the enemy by surprise and encircle him; it is as though we imagined the epic poet and the Carthaginian general to be as remote from ourselves as an animal seen in a zoo.
    Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way

Philology is that venerable art which demands of its votaries one thing above all: to go aside, to take time, to become still, to become slow--it is a goldsmith's art and connoisseurship of the word which has nothing but delicate, cautious work to do and achieves nothing if it does not achieve it lento. But for precisely this reason it is more necessary than ever today, by precisely this means does it enchant and entice us most, in the midst of an age of 'work,' that is to say, of hurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, which wants to get everything done at once, including every old or new book:--this art does not so easily get anything done, it teaches to read well, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply, looking cautiously before and aft, with reservations, with doors left open, with delicate eyes and fingers . . .
    Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak

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