Selected Works, Vol. I by Lu Xun

By Lu Xun

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Such is the case of my 1859 472-page Spanish translation of Lesage’s classic picaresque novel, Gil Blas de Santillana, published in Paris by Vve. Baudey, Librería Europea in a hardcover quarto. But, again, as a book in our hands, a clothbound, leather-spined 1900 Spanish translation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary is undoubtedly more appealing than its Dell pocket-book English translation, as is my similar 1886 Spanish translation of Zola’s 1973 Le ventre de Paris, as compared to its 1975 Fasquelle pocketbook edition by Fasquell.

Not so his ability to handle books, since all he can do at this point is to have a book lay on a lap desk while sitting on his wheelchair. His loving wife, Mae, puts a rubber thimble on his good index finger, which he uses to turn pages, not without difficulty, due to the limited range of motion in his hand and finger. In fact, the only way for him to carry out what for an unimpeded reader is such a simple operation, is if the pages of the book lie flat, which is not so easy with most books, certainly not ordinary soft cover books, and even quite a few hard cover books with glued rather than sewn-in pages, unless they are of significant size.

In addition, our dedicated books will also revive the inevitability of relationships growing colder and colder as they make us pause and reflect on how after a while we just followed each other’s path of life, or how poignantly we came to the severing of a relationship, never again documented in our photo album, and to that unexpected and utter mutual estrangement. To all of which perhaps even some letters would still attest. Things, in sum, which someone else’s biographer could never, or hardly ever, have access to in any depth.

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