2) We use the word “classics” for those books that are treasured by those who have read and loved them; but they are treasured no less by those who have the luck to read them for the first time in the best conditions to enjoy them.
In fact, reading in youth can be rather unfruitful, owing to impatience, distraction, inexperience with the product’s “instructions for use,” and inexperience in life itself. Books read then can be (possibly at one and the same time) formative, in the sense that they give a form to future experiences, providing models, terms of comparison, schemes for classification, scales of value, exemplars of beauty—all things that continue to operate even if the book read in one’s youth is almost or totally forgotten. If we reread the book at a mature age we are likely to rediscover these constants, which by this time are part of our inner mechanisms, but whose origins we have long forgotten. A literary work can succeed in making us forget it as such, but it leaves its seed in us.
“But when from a long distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.” – Swann’s Way (In Search of Lost Time), Marcel Proust
“It had the appearance of a place rebuilt from memory after a great passage of time, when much has been forgotten” – The Luminaries, Eleanor Catton
It’s a run against time versus money and Life chases you around to either end, the two didactic polar opposites. Here, prevails a scarcity of the ephemeral, the surreal. Unlike steam escaping a hissing kettle, you are bound. Here you exist, you survive, you end. And ambition, passion, glory are but spirits, continually wearing one down. In a present circumstance, your sentimentality is maimed. What follows is of the truest Nature; guise of a viscous life. You fail to gather enough reasons to rationalize a material loss. You seek a postponement from the perpetual resolve of the living.