Tell me what you read, I’ll tell you who you are

Photo: Pedro Ruiz The Duty
Trinkets, small pictures or memories of travel often have their place in libraries.

All of the libraries, as suggested by the writer Alberto Manguel, are self-portraits. If they disappear more and more homes, those that persist today, in a blink of an eye and instinct, to capture a part of the identity of its possessor. Second of a look five times on the disappearance of personal libraries.

Be prompted to enter in a house that is still unknown, there is a ” do at home “. See a library ; if you drive, be attracted by it as by a magnet ; put to stir — titles, authors, classification, colors, iconoclastic small objects which serve ; to recognize, to discover, judge, and gauge.


A library allows to intuitively understand ” the identity of an individual through the books he has read, [but also] from the books he owns but has not yet read. The desire is latent, waiting, reading is also important that the memory of things read, ” wrote the master of conference at the University of Lille 3 Géraldine Sfez in 2008.


Any library that is a topographic, or geological the identity of its possessor, sued Ms. Sfez in “The libraries are : identities-palimpsest” (Canning memorial). “Because, like memory, a library is formed by sediment — acquisitions, losses and loans successive. The image souvenirs or marks of the body (wrinkles, folds, etc.), books read are all signs of the experiences and places through which it passes. “


Compulsive reader


Thus, we can distinguish, she continued, the library reader’s careful and wise who chooses a to a his books, and read conscientiously that, messy, drive greedy, compulsive disorder, which disperses and aggregates ; ” those of which we can admire the sobriety and the ones that we want the wealth ; those, that are alive, that invite to the dialogue and those decorative, pure façade “, the latter disappearing more and more, no longer, as there are still a few decades, of the musts, decorative offices of lawyers, notaries and other modern and self-proclaimed gentlemen.


The subject is “not schedule” in the research of Ms. Sfez, specializing in film studies and philosophy, ” she says almost ten years later, in a telephone interview with the Duty. “I did my thesis on the issue of memory in contemporary art, and I am interested in the art of memory in Antiquity and the Middle Ages ; there was often this metaphor of memory as a library — that our memory was the row, built as a library. The Ancient thinkers used this image to show how our memories are stored in boxes. It went from there, and because I love to read. “


The ever read, these pleasures guilty


Better than a story or a photo album, she wrote, “a library,” offers a statement almost geological the identity of the person who made it. The foreign language books, travel guides, the propensity to keep his school books or his children’s books ” reveal that we are dealing, and the spectrum and the bursting of its interests, pleasures, guilty, and ambitions which included. “Ulysses, James Joyce, or even the Bible, or The Odyssey, shows-t-today, they are often found in libraries, reference books, whose reading will often be too ambitious. And there’s also this fun to say, “this book, I will be able to read it later,” as to maintain the desire.


Is that a virtual library is a window open on the soul of his reader ? “I wouldn’t me be,” says Ms. Sfez. The object of the book, its pages corneas, objects stuck between the pages seem to if talking. It is true that in digital, there is no this interaction, this porosity between the reader and the object. There is not the mark ; and it is this that is beautiful, in the library : the drive is marked by the book, but leaves its mark also. “Because some of the books, ringed with coffee, scribbled, annotated, moved it,” the more damaged, thus leaving to guess that they were more driven, or more loved than others “. Or read in the bath, was there a desire, in jest (and experience…), to add.


“You put all of the pictures, small pictures, knick-knacks, travel souvenirs in our libraries, and there are echoes between the books and objects “, in these mini-cabinets of curiosity, goes on to interview the specialist of the image. Alberto Manguel has written : “Never, no library has been exclusively dedicated to the book : the whole library is a media library. Since the library of Alexandria, the books are placed side by side with maps, images, plans, objects… “


An identity-palimpsest


The library of Freud, mentions Ms. Sfez, ” was impressive for it : it was full of small statuettes in his library. It was a work in itself, ” and these objects, which inhabit also speak of the way in which you, the reader, perceives, and of which it wants to, by those who interfere in our house, to be perceived. “It helps in this self-portrait of the library. “The identity that emerges is built on a multiplicity of experiences, encounters and readings, over time, like an identity-a palimpsest, to borrow the concept of the researcher.

We do not keep in our memory books homogeneous, but fragments torn off readings are partial, and often interwoven with each other, and furthermore modified by our personal fantasies : bits of books tampered with…
Pierre Bayard

It even has a library ” quite large, even by my studies “, at home. How many books ? “Really no idea, but I would like it a lot. I have a little changed, I have lived in other countries, and each time, it was important for me to take away my books, even if, of course, it is superfluous, and that I was definitely not going to review them all. I am attached to. Even at the order : I do not like too much that we touch, that we can change the books in place. Yes, I think that there may be a report that is a bit intense, which is quite shared, to the library, ” laughing, the teacher and researcher in a university.


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