One of the great things about the cyberworld is the ability to find the work, either in image or words, of those people that might easily go unnoticed in the past. You can now come across a few words or images that intrigue you and within moments have access to a world of information about the writer or artist. Such was the case recently when I stumbled upon a few quotes from the writer of the words above and shown in the portrait above, Henri-Frederic Amiel.
Born in 1821, Amiel was a Swiss professor, poet and writer who died in 1881, leaving no major marks on the world before his death. Although esteemed, his poetry was not celebrated and he made no major breakthroughs as a professor of moral philosophy in his time. It was after his death that Amiel began to live on in the form of a personal journal that he kept from the 1840’s until the time of his death. Called the Journal Intime, it is a wondeful inner exploration of the man, exposing a depth of thought apllied to universal truths. His words, written over 150 years ago in many cases, seem as fresh and as true today as then, a fact that made the Journal Intime a timeless classic in much the same manner as the essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
However, despite its acclaim after it posthumous publishing, the book has faded from the modern consciousness and may not grace the shelves of many libraries. But thanks to the online world, it is a book that is now readily available to those wishing to read these thoughtful words. It is available on most book sites and is available free at a number of sites including Project Gutenberg.
So many of the quotes that have been pulled from the Journal Intime ring true for today, including those that could be applied to subjects that are hotly debated in this country such as healthcare and taxation of the richest of us:
I was probably drawn to his words by two that said what I have said for some time.
The great artist is the simplifier.
The Journal itself is not an easy read. It is a winding road through the life of one man and doesn’t always reveal its truths quickly. So if you wish to quickly absorb some of Amiel’s aphorisms, I suggest checking out his pages at BrainyQuote or ThinkExist.