Sunday, December 24, 2006

A "Human Library"

Courtesy of the Jewish Standard, an amazing passage from Argentinian writer Alberto Manguel, in which he discusses how one of his boyhood tutors had him memorize German poetry. Manguel explains why in the following paragraph:

"I enjoyed learning the poems, but I didn’t understand of what use they might possibly be. ‘They’ll keep you company on the day you have no books to read,’ my teacher said. Then he told me that his father, murdered in Sachsenhausen, had been a famous scholar who knew many of the classics by heart and who, during his time in the concentration camp, had offered himself as a library to be read to his fellow inmates. I imagined the old man in that murky, relentless, hopeless place, approached with a request for Virgil or Euripides, opening himself up to a given page and reciting the ancient words for his bookless readers."


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