Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Most of all, he saw her waist, just where it narrowed, before the skirts spread. He remembered her nakedness as he knew it, and his hands around that narrowing. He thought of her momentarily as an hour-glass, containing time, which was caught in her like a thread of sand, of stone, of specks of life, of things that had lived and would live. She held his time, she contained his past and his future, both now cramped together, with such ferocity and such gentleness, into this small circumference. He remembered an odd linguistic fact--the word for waist in Italian is vita, is life--and this must be, he thought, to do with the navel, which is where our separate lives cast off... This is my centre, he thought, here, at this place, at this time, in her, in that narrow place, where my desire has its end.

--A.S. Byatt, Possession

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