Marginalia, no.74

Of the customary modes of acquisition, the one most appropriate to a collector would be the borrowing of a book with its attendant non-returning.

~ Walter Benjamin, Unpacking My Library

Soft theft of this sort lends the book lover a nimbus of glory that only waxes brighter the more prolonged the period of the loan.  How many old widows and codgers have found a late or posthumous fame in six-figure fines earned for the tardy return of library books checked out decades before?  But fines like these are always waived in honor of rare heroic achievement.


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