Friday, August 20, 2010

“How fortunate the specialist!”

A traveller who has just arrived in a country where everything is new to him is held up by the difficulty of making up his mind. How fortunate the sociologist who is interested only in manners and customs; the painter who cares only for the country’s aspect; the naturalist who occupies himself with insects or plants! How fortunate the specialist!... If I had a second life, I could be happy spending it merely in the study of white ants.

— André Gide, Travels in the Congo, trans. Dorothy Bussy, p. 12 (Modern Age edition, 1937).

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