Review: Letter from a misanthrope. The essayist is the very epitome of a misanthrope.
Quote: “…you were resolved upon the practice, there, of detachment, scorn, silence. Imagine, then, my surprise on hearing you say you were preparing a book about it!”
Quote: “To write books is to have a certain relation with original sin. For what is a book if not a loss of innocence, an act of aggression, a repetition of our Fall?”
Quote: “Voltaire was the first literary man to erect his incompetence into a procedure, a method.”
Quote: “Examine the minds which manage to intrigue us: far from taking the way of the world into consideration, they defend indefensible positions.”
Quote: “One does not destroy, save as one destroys oneself. I have hated myself in all the objects of my hatreds….”
Quote: “I am far from trying to pervert your hopes: life will take care of that.”
Quote: “Hence it is in good faith and regretfully, that I have inflicted upon you this lesson in perplexity.”
The art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. 1995.