The Scents of the Bookstore

Jean-Luc Nancy

in On the Commerce of Thinking

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230365
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235476 | DOI:
The Scents of the Bookstore

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The bookstore is a perfumery, rotisserie, patisserie: a dispensary of scents and flavors through which something like a fragrance or bouquet of the book is divined, presumed, sensed. It is where one gives oneself or finds an idea of the book's Idea, a sketch, an allusion, a suggestion. The bookstore opens to the reader the general space of all kinds of opening, furtive glance, brief shedding of light or illumination, drilling, prospecting, sifting, fine-tooth combing, sampling, or summary. It is always a matter of unbinding the tie that holds the volume together and of letting it breathe, puff for a second, a matter also of having it lose its sufficiency and consistency enough so that it can be found only in the zealousness or nonchalance of the fingers that turn its pages.

Keywords: book; bookstore; scent

Chapter.  1050 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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