In the footsteps of Doctor Fileno

…who thought he had found an efficacious remedy for all human ills, an infallible recipe capable of bringing solace to himself and all mankind in case of any calamity whatever, public or private.

Actually it was more than a remedy or a recipe that Doctor Fileno had discovered; it was a method consisting in reading history books from morning till night and practicing looking at the present as though it were an event already buried in the archives of the past.  By this method he had cured himself of all suffering and of all worry, and without having to die had found a stern, serene peace, imbued with that particular sadness which cemeteries would still preserve even if all men on earth were dead.

—  Luigi Pirandello, “La tragedia d’un personaggio” [“A Character’s Tragedy”] in Eleven Short Stories, trans. Stanley Appelbaum (New York:  Dover, 1994), 149.

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Filed under Books, Death, History and historiography, Reading and writing

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