Friday, June 12, 2009

Sand in Your Keyboard

Not that you would want to take your laptop to the beach, but a full digital version of The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini is available at Google books. It is just like getting a digital "used book". There are underlined bits and notes in the margins! It's kind of wonderful.

In any version it is worth it, if nothing else, for the first paragraph alone:

"All men of whatsoever quality they be, who have done anything of excellence, or which may properly resemble excellence, ought, if they are persons of truth and honesty, to describe their life with their own hand; but they ought not to attempt so fine an enterprise till they have passed the age of forty. This duty occurs to my own mind now that I am travelling beyond the term of fifty-eight years, and am in Florence, the city of my birth. Many untoward things can I remember, such as happen to all who live upon our earth; and from those adversities I am now more free than at any previous period of my career—nay, it seems to me that I enjoy greater content of soul and health of body than ever I did in bygone years. I can also bring to mind some pleasant goods and some inestimable evils, which, when I turn my thoughts backward, strike terror in me, and astonishment that I should have reached this age of fifty- eight, wherein, thanks be to God, I am still travelling prosperously forward."

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