Thursday, April 29, 2021

the last book I ever read (Chess Story by Stefan Zweig, excerpt four)

from Chess Story by Stefan Zwieg:

“Now you’ll probably think that I immediately seized the book, examined it, and read it. Not at all! First I wanted to savor to the full the anticipatory pleasure of having a book, the artificially prolonged delight, with a wonderful arousing effect on my nerves, of imagining the stolen book in detail, imagining what sort of book I’d most like it to be: closely printed above all, with many, many characters, many, many thin pages, so there would be more to read. And then I wanted it to be a work that required intellectual effort, nothing shallow, nothing easy, but something you could study, learn by heart, poems, and preferably—I had the audacity to dream of such a thing—Goethe or Homer. But finally I could no longer control my eagerness, my curiosity. Stretched out on the bed, so that the guard wouldn’t catch me by surprise if he suddently opened the door, I tremblingly brought out the volumc from under my belt.

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