A striking idea, that in being true, a book will feel intimate and familiar to all men.  ‘True’ surely means authentic rather than fact-based.

Some books feel intimate and familiar to some people, not all, and there is value in that too. It is probably only a few giants of world literature that make the ‘all men’ grade: Divine Comedy, Shakespeare’s plays, Homer, to name some Western examples.

Also like the simile of something being as familiar as the sun to your face.

‘A book should be so true as to be intimate and familiar to all men, as the sun to their faces.’  Saturday 4 September 1841


Source: Henry David Thoreau,The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R. Stilgoe (New York: New York Review Books, 2009), p. 20

Photo credit: Matt Hoffman at unsplash.com


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