From Illuminations by Walter Benjamin

Posted by @ 12:05 pm on April 25th, 2009

I'm going to think really hard about this, thinks Walter.

Of the customary modes of aquisition, the one most appropriate to  a collector would be the borrowing of a book with its attendant non-returning. The book borrower of real stature whom we envisage here proves himself to be an inveterate collector of books not so much by the fervor with which he guards his borrowed treasures and by the deaf ear which he turns to all reminders of the everyday world of legality as by his failure to read these books. If my experience may serve as evidence, a man is more likely to return a borrowed book upon occasion than to read it. And the non-reading of books, you will object, should be characteristic of collectors? This is news to me, you may say. It is not news at all. Experts will bear me out when I say this is the oldest thing in the world.

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