Friday, November 6, 2020

the last book I ever read (The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino, excerpt five)

from The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino:

I was too young and Cosimo had friends only in the uneducated classes, so he satisfied his need to comment on the discoveries he was making in books by burying our old teacher in questions and explanation. The abbĂ©, of course, had that submissive and accommodating disposition that came to him from a superior knowledge of the vanity of all things, and Cosimo took advantage of it. So the relationship of discipleship between the two was reversed: Cosimo was the teacher and Fauchelafleur the pupil. And my brother had gained such authority that he succeeded in dragging the old man, trembling, on his pilgrimages in the trees. He had him spend a whole afternoon with his thin legs dangling from the limb of a horse chestnut in the garden of the D’Ondarivas, contemplating the rare trees and the sunset reflected in the lily pond and arguing about monarchies and republics, about the just and the true in the various religions, and Chinese rites, the earthquake in Lisbon, the Leyden jar, empiricism.

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