This endearing quotation is from the preface to the 16th century Treatise on Laughter (Le traité du ris) by Laurent Joubert.  Although he’s referring to the study of laughter, it applies to any subject you are passionate about, in which you think that surely you shall ‘never finish, and that there will always be more to say or add’.

‘Now, this is what made me advance my argument so far in this matter of laughter, the nicest and most exciting that has ever been touched. For from one proposition I am led to another, and with a curious desire I go searching constantly, as though insatiable, all that I can grasp.  I think that surely I shall never finish, and that there will always be more to say or add.’

‘Or c’et ce qui m’a fait, si avant anfoncer au discours de mon argumant, an cette matiere de Ris, la plus jantile & galharde qui ayt eté jamais touchee. Car d’vn propos je suis conduit à l’autre, & d’vn curieus desir je vay toujours recherchant, comme insatiable, tout ce que j’an peus comprandre. Ie panse bien que je n’auray jamais achevé, & qu’il aura toujours à redire, ou ajouter quelque chose.’

Source: Laurent Joubert, Le traité du ris (1579), facsimile of 1579 edition (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1973), p. 228-29 and Treatise on Laughter, trans. and annot. Gregory David de Rocher (University of Alabama Press, 1980), p. 93

Photo credit: NicoBorie at

Laurent Joubert - Traité du Ris - Treatise on Laughter


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