Marginalia, no.284

The Chevalier de Firmin (1681-1722) fought thirteen duels, killing three opponents and wounding three others, to enforce his insistence that Charles Coffin surpassed Jean Santeul as a modern Latin poet. Just before he died, Firmin confessed he had never read a single line written by either man.

~ Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

We can thank the good Chevalier for showing us, by the example of his life, the essential human condition. Convictions may be poorly informed and arbitrarily held, so long as you have them. After all, what would be left of history and culture if people gave up fighting over things they know nothing about?



Filed under Marginalia

2 responses to “Marginalia, no.284

  1. While it’s not to the same extent, it reminded me of a line from La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas (Vol 1, Ch 12). Hope you don’t mind me sharing:
    “Although in politics he passed for a reactionary and mocked all progressives, in religion he was regarded as a Voltarian, or what he and other Vetustans understood by that term. Don Robustiano had never read Voltaire, but his admiration for Voltaire was as intense as the abhorrence felt by Gloucester, who had never read Voltaire either.”

  2. Ian Wolcott

    Nice. Thanks for sharing.

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