History & Trauma ~ Civilization & Its Discontents

“I shall not recapitulate the disasters of the Alexandrian library,” Edward Gibbon writes in the fifty-first chapter of the The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The historian resolves, with these words, to remain silent about that which distinguishes the Alexandrian library above all else: its “disasters.” But it would be rash to conclude the Gibbon, therefore, simply fails to address the calamities that he so clearly avoids. With the characteristic double gesture of disavowal, he at once invokes and distances them. His discussion of the institution and posterity of the library cannot but call to mind the destructions that he passes over in silence; it frames, without recounting, the very “disasters” that it will not “recapitulate.” –Daniel Heller-Roazen

What, me worry? –Alfred E. Newman

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s