William and Adso, Fools and Clowns

William was deeply humiliated. I tried to comfort him; I told him that for three days he had been looking for a text in Greek and it was natural in the course of his examination for him to discard all books not in Greek. And he answered that it is certainly human to make mistakes, but there are some human beings who make more than others, and they are called fools, and he was one of them, and he wondered whether it was worth the effort to study in Paris and Oxford if one was then incapable of thinking that manuscripts are also bound in groups, a fact even novices know, except stupid ones like me, and a pair of clowns like the two of us would be a great success at fairs, and that was what we should do instead of trying to solve mysteries, especially when we were up against people far more clever than we.

Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose (English trans. William Weaver, 1983)

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Thanks, dear reader, should you ever find me, for being my gadfly.

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About philokalos

Philologist, historian, and lover of great books, I started this blog to keep myself alert to the beauty of what I see amid the demands of my work.
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