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Coming soon: eBooks!

By way of a trailer for an upcoming blog post on eBooks and translation, I wanted to share a couple of quotes I found in the course of researching it. The first is Borges:

“De todos los instrumentos del hombre, el más asombroso es, sin duda, el libro. Los demás son extensiones de su cuerpo. El microscopio, el telescopio, son extensiones de su vista; el teléfono es extensión de la voz; luego tenemos el arado y la espada, extensiones del brazo. Pero el libro es otra cosa: el libro es una extensión de la memoria y la imaginación”

[Of all the instruments of man, the most astonishing is no doubt the book. The others are extensions of the body. The microscope, the telescope, are extensions of vision; the telephone is an extension of the voice; then we have the plough and the sword, extensions of the arm. But the book is different: the book is an extension of the memory and the imagination.]

The second is from a letter to the Italian newswire, Il Sole 24 ORA:

“Gentile direttore,

nei mesi della malattia di mio nonno e poi a lungo dopo la sua morte mi piaceva entrare nel suo studio, abitarvi. Mio nonno non c’era più, erano rimasti i libri.

Un testo è un oggetto, con peso, volume, ingombro, collocazione, prezzo. Occupa uno spazio, è limitante. Obbliga a delle scelte di cui conserva materialmente la memoria. Il formato elettronico, con la promessa (vedremo quanto fondata) di un’accessibilità istantanea e potenzialmente illimitata a ogni informazione, rischia di indebolire lo sforzo di sintesi cui il libro cartaceo in qualche modo fisicamente ci costringeva.”

[Dear sir,

During the months of my grandfather’s illness, and then long after his death, I loved to go into his study and spend time in it. My grandfather was no longer there, but his books had stayed.

A text is an object which has weight, volume, mass, value. It occupies and delimits a defined space. It forces you to choose what memories will be conserved materially. The digital formats, with their promise (as yet untested) of instant, potentially unlimited access to any and every type of information, threaten to weaken the synthetic force to which the physical book somehow restricts us.]

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