Sunday, June 24, 2007

the may travels 4 - toledo






'The streets of Toledo are desolate, ghosts of what they had once been. A man has come in from the countryside, looking for a book, a book whose name he doesn't yet know but which he is sure will have a lost history in it.... he knows the best place to hunt such things is down is the former Jewish quarter, though now Jews have lived there for a hundred years.

'... the man is wandering down the streets because it is now the neighbourhood of the rag sellers. The old neighbourhood of books and them men who wrote books and the men who translated books for the world has become a place where the books no one is supposed to read anymore are turned into pulp. The man sees a boy with a pile of papers he is trying to sell to an old silk merchant, and he can see they are written in Arabic....

' "... I pressed him to read the beginning , and when he did so, making an extempre translation from the Arabic into Castilian, he said that the heading was: History of Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Cide Hamete benengeli, Arabic historian." ' - from The Ornament of The World, Maria Rosa Menocal

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