By the time one has read them all one does not know what to think about anything

From Anatole France’s Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard:

– Que de livres ! s’écria-t-elle. Et vous les avez tous lus, monsieur Bonnard ?

– Hélas ! oui, répondis-je, et c’est pour cela que je ne sais rien du tout, car il n’y a pas un de ces livres qui n’en démente un autre, en sorte que, quand on les connaît tous, on ne sait que penser. J’en suis là, madame.


“What a lot of books!” she cried. “And have you really read them all, Monsieur Bonnard?”

“Alas! I have,” I replied, “and that is just the reason that I do not know anything; for there is not a single one of those books which does not contradict some other book; so that by the time one has read them all one does not know what to think about anything. That is just my condition, Madame.”

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