In Celebration of the Interlibrary Loan

In celebration of libraries, and the interlibrary loan:

“We were nobodies, two young Lit students chatting away in a rickety old house in a small town at the edge of the world, a place where nothing of any significance had ever happened and presumably never would, we had barely started out on our lives and knew nothing about anything, but what we read was not nothing, it concerned matters of the utmost significance and was written by the greatest thinkers and writers in Western culture, and that was basically a miracle, all you had to do was fill in a library lending slip and you had access to what Plato, Sappho, or Aristophanes had written in the incomprehensibly distant mists of time, or Homer, Sophocles, Ovid, Lucullus, Lucretius or Dante, Vasari, da Vinci, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Cervantes or Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Lukics, Arendt, or those who wrote in the modern day, Foucault, Barthes, Levi-Strauss, Deleuze, Serres. Not to mention the millions of novels, plays, and collections of poetry which were available. All one lending slip and a few days away. We didn’t read any of these to be able to summarize the contents, as we did with the literature on the syllabus, but because they could give us something.

“What was this ‘something’? For my part, it was something being opened up.”

Karl Ove Knausgård, My Struggle, Book 5, p. 310.

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