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Walter Benjamin – The Storyteller




There aren’t that many Benjamin texts out there on the interweb. This one

The Storyteller : Reflections on the work of Nicolai Leskov

came my way via Lorcan Dempsey’s weblog , which in its turn arrived through looking for more on the quote in my previous post

Pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli.

There is a tantalising Italian wiki on the saying {1} and a link to an English Wiki:Terentianus on its author, which doesn’t give a lot away.

When the quote wiki is automatically translated it comes out as:

Pro captu lectoris habent sua fata libelli
Depending on the apprehension of the reader, the book their fates

which is the sort of garbled translation I am fond of because it reminds me of the sort of English in the instruction sheet in flat-pack furniture.

For a second I misread it as some sort of fear of the reader……perhaps it could just as well be the other meaning or both at the same time: as in ‘I haven’t a clue what this book is about.’ [Chucks it in the waste paper basket]; or, ‘This book scares the hell out of me.’ [chucks it in the waste paper basket]

Would be grateful for a quick lesson on where to put the full stop in a quote: is it .’ or ‘.



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October 18, 2007 - Posted by | Literature, Reader, reading, Terentianus, The fate of books, Walter Benjamin | , , , ,

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