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The World’s Essential, Joyful Muddle

March 3, 2012


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The order decreed by library catalogues is, at night, merely conventional; it holds no prestige in the shadows. Though my own library has no authoritarian catalogue, even such milder orders as alphabetical arrangement by author or division into sections by language find their power diminished. Free from quotidian constraints, unobserved in the late hours, my eyes and hands roam recklessly across the tidy rows, restoring chaos. One book calls to another unexpectedly, creating alliances across different cultures and centuries. A half-remembered line is echoed by another for reasons which, in the light of day, remain unclear. If the library in the morning suggests an echo of the severe and reasonably wishful order of the world, the library at night seems to rejoice in the world’s essential, joyful muddle.

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2012 8:00 am

    Ah, The Library at Night! I love that book. :)

  2. March 3, 2012 9:12 pm

    Isn’t this just wonderful! Thank you so much for posting it.

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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