SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Every day I place less value in intellect. Every day I see more clearly that if the writer is to repossess himself of some part of his old impressions, which is to say, to reach something personal… then he must put it aside. What intellect restores to us under the name of the past, is not that. In reality, as soon as each hour of one’s life has died, it embodies itself in some material object, as do the souls of the dead in certain folk-stories, and hides there. There it remains captive, captive forever, unless we should happen upon the object, recognize what lies within, call it by its name, and so set it free. Most likely we may never happen upon the object (or the sensation, since we apprehend every object as sensation) that it hides in; and thus there are hours of our life that will never be revived: for this object is so tiny, so lost in the world, and there is so little likelihood that we shall come across it.
–Marcel Proust, Contre Sainte-Beuve, projet de préface (ca. 1905), in the Pléiade ed., p. 211 (S.H. transl.)
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp
From the June 2014 issue
Hours per day that a death-row inmate in China wears hand and ankle restraints:
A multidisciplinary team detected cardiac arrhythmia in the works of Beethoven.
There was a run on cases of 5.56mm M855 green-tip rifle bullets, after the White House moved to ban their manufacture and sale because they can pierce police armor.
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”