Sunday, October 24, 2010

Farewell to All That

Lewis Lapham has ended the Notebooks column in Harper's after 26 years. His appearances have been sporadic of late as he's moved on to found and helm Lapham's Quarterly. A monthly pleasure for much of my adult life has expired.

I was struck by his quotation of Montaigne:

I have no doubt that I often speak of things which are better treated by the masters of the craft, and with more truth. This is simply a trial [essai] of my natural faculties, and not of my acquired ones. If anyone catches me in ignorance, he will score no triumph over me, since I can hardly be answerable to another for my reasonings, when I am not answerable for them to myself, and am never satisfied with them...These are my fancies, in which I make no attempt to convey information about things, only about myself. I may have some objective knowledge one day, or may perhaps have had it in the past when I happened to light on passages that explained things. But I have forgotten it all; for though I am a man of some reading, I am one who retains nothing.

That's a good Mission Statement.

1 comment:

Denise Hagvall said...

Wow, this is often the reason I don't write, and also the reason I write.