Friday 31 January 2020

Hisham Matar, A Month in Siena

I had the pleasure of listening to Hisham Matar discuss his new memoir A Month in Siena this week at Daunt Books. One thing he said has stayed with me: everything I have done that matters starts with a stutter.

A quote from A Month in Siena:

"I have a confidence in the physical presence of things - much more than in intellectual abstractions. I believe an object in a room can exact an influence that is not contingent on whether the inhabitants of that room engage with it or even pay it the slightest attention. Montaigne was right in believing that the mere presence of his books around him had an effect on his mind and character, that their patient availability made certain thoughts and modes of thinking possible or more likely. I had no doubt it was the same for the museum guards at the Pinacoteca."

Duccio di Buoninsegna, The Healing of the Man Born Blind (1307/8-11)

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