The Curse of the Bookworm?

I go, I go away, I walk, I wander, and I wander to no purpose: this is the University vacation, everywhere I go I bear my shell with me, I remain at home in my room, among my books, I do not approach an inch nearer to Marrakesh or Timbuctoo. Even if I took a train, a boat, or an autocar, if I went to Morocco for my holiday, if I suddenly arrived at Marrakesh, I should be always in my room, at home. And if I walked in the squares and in the souks, if I gripped an Arab’s shoulder, to feel Marrakesh in his person, well! – that Arab would be at Marrakesh, and not I: I should still be seated in my room, placid and meditative as is my chosen life, two thousand miles away from the Moroccan and his burnous. In my room. For ever. – p. 186

The passage is taken from Jean-Paul Sartre’s The Age of Reason and I find it incredibly sad, beautiful and startling precise. It is one of my favourite passages in the book. Are we bookworms doomed to be isolated?

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4 comments

  1. Ahhhh, but the opposite is also true. You can sit in your room, isolated and alone and still be a world traveller, with the companionship of another (fictional or non-fictional) person all through the power of reading! How delightful!

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