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Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (23)

And despite the fact that I was so different from him, I believe he reciprocated my affection with equal fondness. I would be more certain of this if he hadn’t died so soon. He continued assiduously giving me lessons after my marriage and he often seasoned them with shouts and insults, which I accepted, convinced…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (22)

A reputation for cleverness was very useful. For one thing, many came to seek his counsel, bringing him the latest news, while he gave them the most helpful advice, confirmed by experience accumulated ever since the Middle Ages. At times he happened to gain, along with the news, the possibility of selling some merchandise. Finally…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (21)

When I admire someone, I try at once to resemble him. So I also imitated Malfenti. I wanted to be very clever, and I felt that I was. Indeed, I once dreamed I was smarter than he. I thought I had discovered a flaw in his business organization: I decided to tell him immediately in…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (20)

The few ideas that stirred in his immense head would then be expounded with such clarity, examined so thoroughly, and applied to so many new situations every day, that they became part of him, of his limbs, his character. I was quite lacking in such ideas, and I hung on to him, to enrich myself.…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (19)

My deeply felt desire for novelty was satisfied by Giovanni Malfenti, so different from me and from all the people whose company and friendship I had sought in the past. Having gone though two university departments, I was fairly cultivated, thanks also to my long inertia, which I consider highly educational. He, on the contrary,…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (18)

Mother Nature wants this but cannot direct us openly, because at that time of life we haven’t the slightest thought of children, so she induces us to believe that our wife will also bring about a renewal of ourselves: a curious illusion not confirmed by any text. In fact, we live then, one beside the…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (17)

IN THE MIND of a young man from a middle-class family, the concept of human life is associated with that of a career, and in early youth the career is that of Napoleon I. This is not to say that the young man dreams of becoming emperor, for you can remain at a much lower…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (16)

I returned to the religion of my childhood and remained there for a long time. I imagined that my father heard me and I could tell him that the fault had been not mine but the doctor’s. The lie was of no importance because now he understood everything, and so did I. And for quite…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (15)

With great, ominously calm severity, he replied: “I explained to you the state of our knowledge at that instant. But who can say what may happen by tomorrow, or in half an hour’s time? By keeping your father alive, I have left the door open to all possibilities.” Then he put on his glasses, and…

Zeno’s Conscience: quotes (14)

More frightened than ever, I begged him not to apply the leeches. Then, quite calmly, he told me that the orderly had surely already applied them, because he had given the man instructions before leaving my father’s room. I became angry. Could anything be more wicked than recalling a sick man to consciousness, without the…