To celebrate #BookLoversDay let’s turn to Erasmus, the fifteenth century Dutch humanist and theologian.
In 1489, he wrote a letter in which he described what he understood to be a lover of books. For him, what distinguished a book lover from others is the need to integrate books in their daily lives, such as one might food and drink. Ownership is not the point, what counts is continuity and familiarity:
“I consider as lovers of books not those who keep their books hidden in their store-chests and never handle them, but those who, by nightly as well as daily use them, thumb them, batter them, wear them out, who fill out all the margins with annotations of many kinds, and who prefer the marks of a fault they have erased to a neat copy full of faults.”
Couldn’t agree more 🙂
¹ Letter to an unidentified friend in 1489 as translated in Collected Works of Erasmus. The Correspondence of Erasmus, Schoeck, R.J., and Corrigan, B, (University of Toronto Press), 1974, p. 114.
To read more about Desiderius Erasmus click here