November 08, 2009

Basbanes Excerpts

From Patience & Fortitude by N. Basbanes:
[Harold] Bloom told me that his exhausting reading regimen was such that several years earlier he had exacerbated a severe case of bleeding ulcers and aggravated a heart condition that required him to undergo major surgery from having read for great periods of time without pausing for rest. "I have done nothing but read all my life," he said, pointing to a pile of volumes stacked high beside the well-worn leather chair in his New Haven, Connecticut, living room...
And this, concerning the New York Public Library, quotes a man named Gregorian:
"My notion was that people with means will not assist a dying institution. They will pay for a funeral for old time's sake, but they will not assist a dying institution. So when I came to New York I maintained that death is not an option, so don't even think about it. New York Public Library must survive, and our first job was to stress how centrial it is, how crucial it is...It was built with marble, it was built to last, because culture has to last, knowledge has to last. My attitude was that the cause was so valuable that if I succeed, it would be a miracle, if I fail, I would be a great martyr. Either way, I could not lose."

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