Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On nobel spirits

While a torch or candle is alive and burning it shines on all those near it, it lights up its surroundings, offers its help and its brilliance to all and does no harm nor displeasure to anyone--but the moment it is extinguished it poisons the air with its smoke and vapor, and offends and displeases everyone near it, it is the same with such noble and famous souls. As long as they inhabit their bodies, their presence brings peace, pleasure, profit and honor. But at the hour of their decease, the isles and the mainland are habitually disturbed by mighty commotions: shuddering and darkness, thunder and hail, the earth trembles and quakes, storms and hurricanes start up over the seas, complaints and distress rise up among the people, religions change, kingdoms fall, states are overthrown. 
(Bakhtin cites Rabelais in The Dialogic Imagination)

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