Friday, April 30, 2010

Borrowing books

Song Lian (1310-81) recalling his youth in the 1320s:

"When I was young I thirsted after study, but our family was poor. I
didn't have the means to borrow books, so every one I borrowed from
families that collected books. I copied it out by hand and returned it
within a few days,... not daring to exceed the agreed loan time by
even a bit. Accordingly, many people were willing to lend their books
to me, and for this reason I was able to read a great quantity of

Quoted in Timothy Brook, The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and
Culture in Ming China, University of California Press, 1999, pp.