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world’s shortest books - larvatus prodeo — LiveJournal
March 27th, 2008
12:18 am


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world’s shortest books

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Date:March 27th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)

Cannot speak for some on the list...

... but have to disagree on Germans (Heine, Kant, and, yes, Nietsche), Italians (from condotieri to Garibaldi to Teseo Tesei), Poles (Mickiewicz, Milocz).

Maybe add to the list of shortest books, Jokes that I (zapiens) Understand?
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Date:March 28th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)

Re: Cannot speak for some on the list...

Heine died in Paris 77 years before his erstwhile compatriots denounced him as an Untermensch and burned his books in Berlin’s Opernplatz. Kant was not far from them in spirit:
The Palestinians living among us have, for the most part, earned a not unfounded reputation for being cheaters, because of their spirit of usury since their exile. Certainly, it seems strange to conceive of a nation of cheaters; but it is just as odd to think of a nation of merchants, the great majority of whom, bound by an ancient superstition that is recognized by the State they live in, seek no civil dignity and try to make up for this loss by the advantage of duping the people among whom they find refuge, and even one another. The situation could not be otherwise, given a whole nation of merchants, as non-productive members of society (for example, the Jews in Poland). So their constitution, which is sanctioned by ancient precepts and even by the people among whom they live (since we have certain sacred writings in common with them), cannot consistently be abolished — even though the supreme principle of their morality in trading with us is “Let the buyer beware.” I shall not engage in the futile undertaking of lecturing to these people, in terms of morality, about cheating and honesty. Instead, I shall present my conjectures about the origin of this peculiar constitution (the constitution, namely, of a nation of merchants).
—Immanuel Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, translated by Mary J. Gregor, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1974, p. 77
Nietzsche may have been many things, but scarcely a humanist. For Italian war heroes, I’ll give you Garibaldi and Teseo Tesei, and Fabrizio Quattrocchi in recent memory; also Kotarbiński and Lesniewski for Polish wisdom. I would add Kołakowski and Miłosz, but as expatriates they get us back to square one. But even the shortest books must have some pages in them.
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Date:June 18th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)

Re: Cannot speak for some on the list...

As far as German Humanism is concerned... I was thinking more along the lines of Reuchlin, Goethe, Momsen, Williamowitz-Moellendorf...
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