Sunday, 26 March 2017

A Journey Round my Room (1794)


In The Art of Travel, the writer Alain de Botton mentions a book called A Journey Round My Room by Xavier de Maistre. This book was written by de Maistre based on his experiences as a 27 year old in the army of the Sardinian Kingdom. In 1790 he was placed under house-arrest in Turin for fighting an illegal duel. During the 42 days of his incarceration he wrote what would become Voyage autour de ma chambre

Botton uses de Maistre's book to argue that all of our experiences, the prosaic as well as the exceptional have something to teach us. He also cites Nietzsche: 
When we observe how some people know how to manage their experiences - their insignificant, everyday experiences - so that they become an arable soil that bears fruit three times a year, while others - and how many there are! - are driven through surging waves of destiny, the most multifarious currents of the times and the nations, and yet always remain on top, bobbing like a cork, then we are in the end tempted to divide mankind into a minority (a minimality) of those who know how to make much of little, and a majority of those who know how to make little of much.

The book by de Maistre, translated into English in 1871 by Henry Atwell is HERE

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