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In case you haven't noticed, I like quotes

Especially ones about diaries that I can apply to my blog. Before break, I read an English translation (yes, I am lazy) of A.O. Barnabooth: His Diary, one of the best-known works of Valéry Larbaud, namesake of my lycée, vichyssois author but perhaps best known as the translator-to-French of many a famous 20th-century anglophone writer - most notably James Joyce and William Faulkner.

The book is the diary of an invented character named Archibald Barnabooth, a South American millionaire who has inherited his money from his father and wanders around Europe trying to figure out what one should do with such a vast fortune. It's rather amusing, but anyway, the point was to share this quote Barnabooth writes about his diary, which reminds me in many ways of my own blog:

I re-read my Italian diary in the inn at Finja on a rainy day when the tarnished lake was suffering and restless between its mist-drenched banks. It was painful reading and it often made me blush. So many sentences that - already! - I would not write now... Exaggerations, naïvetés, little useless lies, little scraps of malice sewn together with a white thread! And yet I tried not to deceive myself: to see my life directly and not through books I had read: and to leave a matter unexplained rather than admit an explanation drawn from literary memories. Often I have been near to striking out a sentence which did not ring true, a ready-made expression which did not correspond with my real thought. I needed courage not to alter anything and to leave the document intact with all its puerilities, its too intimate confidences, its confessions of weakness: my only consolation has indeed come from it. I was beginning to disown my diary: I saw into it clearly: I criticized it; sham feelings, the last traces of the ungrateful age. I noted all these things and in that way measured the distance I have gone. I was no longer the young man who had written those pages: I had laid all that aside: "a sadder and a wiser man." But how far had I yet to go?

srah - Saturday, 11 January 2003 - 8:05 AM
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