28 January 2012

Closing a Good Book

George Gissing to Edith Sichel, July 20th, 1889:
Up to a year ago I used to give a great deal of time to the Greeks and Romans; for whatever reason, I am now seldom disposed for them. Yet I know very well that, if I put modern thoughts aside and sat down to some of the old men for a fortnight, I should be (for the time) the most contented of pedants. Do you not sometimes experience this trouble in giving each taste and faculty its reasonable opportunities? It is so hard to renounce pleasures of the intellect. Sometimes I say, in closing a good book, "That I shall never again read," and the thought is saddening.
The Collected Letters of George Gissing: 1889 - 1891, Vol. 4
(Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1990), p. 89.