„Does there, I wonder, exist a being who has read all, or approximately all, that the person of average culture is supposed to have read, and that not to have read is a social sin? If such a being does exist, surely he is an old, a very old man.“
„This is, after all, a book about reading, and the kind of reader I am addressing does not care primarily about being in fashion.“
— Robertson Davies Canadian journalist, playwright, professor, critic, and novelist 1913 - 1995
— T.S. Eliot 20th century English author 1888 - 1965
„If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it fall, does it make a sound or not? Hector had read alot of books by then, he knew all the tricks and arguments of the philosophers. If someone makes a movie and no one sees it, does the movie exist or not?“
— Paul Auster novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter 1947
— Johann Gottfried Herder German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic 1744 - 1803
Context: With the greatest possible solicitude avoid authorship. Too early or immoderately employed, it makes the head waste and the heart empty; even were there no other worse consequences. A person, who reads only to print, to all probability reads amiss; and he, who sends away through the pen and the press every thought, the moment it occurs to him, will in a short time have sent all away, and will become a mere journeyman of the printing-office, a compositor. Briefe, das Studium der Theologie betressend (1780-81), Vierundzwanzigster Brief; cited from Bernhard Suphan (ed.) Herders sämmtliche Werke (Berlin: Weidmann, 1877-1913) vol. 10, p. 260. Translation from Samuel Taylor Coleridge Biographia Literaria (London: Rest Fenner, 1817) vol. 1, ch. 11, pp. 233-34.
„I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities that I have visited, all my ancestors.“
— Jorge Luis Borges Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish language literature 1899 - 1986
Source: El Pais, 1981 http://elpais.com/diario/1981/09/26/ultima/370303206_850215.html; translation: The Guardian, 2008 http://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/jun/10/jorgeluisborges
„The writer does not get from his work as he writes and reads it the same aesthetic shock that the reader does; and since the writer is so accustomed to reading other stories, and having them produce a decided effect upon him, he is disquieted at not being equally affected by his own.“
— Randall Jarrell poet, critic, novelist, essayist 1914 - 1965
"Ten Books," The Southern Review (Autumn 1935) [p. 8]
„This, then, is the new illiteracy, the illiteracy of those who can read but don't. [... ] This new illiteracy is more pernicious than the old, because unlike the old illiteracy it does not debar its victims from power and influence, although like the old illiteracy it disqualifies them for it. Those long-dead men and women who learned to read so that they might read the Bible and John Bunyan would tell us that pride is the greatest of all sins, the father of sin. And the victims of the new illiteracy are proud of it. If you don't believe me, talk to them and see with what pride they trumpet their utter ignorance of any book you care to name.“
— Gene Wolfe American science fiction and fantasy writer 1931
"From a house on the Borderland", Horrorstruck (1987), Reprinted in Gene Wolfe, Castle of Days (1992)
„I have rarely read anything which has interested me more, though I have not read as yet more than a quarter of the book proper. From quotations which I had seen, I had a high notion of Aristotle's merits, but I had not the most remote notion what a wonderful man he was. Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle.“
— Charles Darwin British naturalist, author of "On the origin of species, by means of natural selection" 1809 - 1882
volume III, chapter VI: "Miscellanea", page 252 http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?pageseq=264&itemID=F1452.3&viewtype=image; letter to William Ogle (22 February 1882) Ogle had translated Aristotle's Parts of Animals and sent Darwin a copy.
„Amy Kofman: Have you read all the books in here?
Derrida: No, only four of them. But I read those very, very carefully.“
— Jacques Derrida French philosopher (1930-2004) 1930 - 2004
Derrida (2003 documentary), referring to his personal library