The spoken word and the written – there is an astonishing gulf between them. There is a way of turning sentences that completely reverses the original meaning.
Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything.
An honest man’s word is as good as his bond.[translation by John Willis Clark]Pledges don’t distress a good paymaster.[translation by John Ormsby][Que al buen pagador no le duelen prendas.]
Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.
Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.
Words can be like X-rays, if you use them properly-they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.
Words are vocal symbols for ideas; ideas, however, are more or less definite mental symbols for frequently returning and concurring sensations, for groups of sensations. It is not sufficient to use the same words in order to understand one another: we must also employ the same words for the same kind of internal experiences, we must in the end have experiences in common.[Worte sind Tonzeichen für Begriffe; Begriffe aber sind mehr oder weniger bestimmte Bildzeichen für oft wiederkehrende und zusammen kommende Empfindungen, für Empfindungs-Gruppen. Es genügt noch nicht, um sich einander zu verstehen, dass man die selben Worte gebraucht: man muss die selben Worte auch für die selbe Gattung innerer Erlebnisse gebrauchen, man muss zuletzt seine Erfahrung mit einander gemein haben.]