29 May 2009

Time for a quotation from a book

Travelogues are my favourite non-fiction genre, and therefore you can expect to find a number of quotations from such books here once they start piling up for real. Not all are about travel, some are about the destination or the natives, expats or other travellers (I have yet to come across a travelogue written by a self-confessed tourist...).

I love this one:

"The gentle reader will never, never know what a consummate ass he can become, until he goes abroad. I speak now, of course, in the supposition that the gentle reader has not been abroad, and therefore is not already a consummate ass. If the case be otherwise, I beg his pardon and extend to him the cordial hand of fellowship and call him brother. I shall always delight to meet an ass after my own heart when I shall have finished my travels."
Mark Twain (1835–1910), The Innocents Abroad (Ch. XXIII)

This paragraph is followed by examples, and although Innocents... was published 140 years ago, the observation is still quite valid.

No comments: