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LibraryIndexPage

Introductions::introduction

 

 

:: There are many purposes in reading.
:: One is, to get to the point.
:: Such readers should flee this site as fast as their mice will carry them.




:: For others, to read is to savor the pleasures of the text, the light of distant lives, the tastes of language, the freshness and strangeness of the infinity of worlds lived within the world. Jorge Luis Borges, the great Argentine poet, devoted much of his life to such an archaeology, and envisioned even Paradise to be a sort of library. He would have understood perfectly why I have called this part of the site, an archaeology of pleasures.
:: So it will appeal only to a certain kind of reader, and is subtitled "The Thackrey Library" because it consists in excerpts I have made over a period of many years from my own library of early printed books and manuscripts on the making and understanding of wine.



One may well ask, "why bother?"



:: Because wine was evolved along with civilization itself, and by the same people. It is not a product of geology, but of human culture and understanding. Without any comprehension of this ancient and extraordinarily complex culture of wine, how can our current comprehension of wine - & thus the pleasures we take in it - not be thinner and less rich? Who can comprehend this culture without reading the only texts that preserve it? How can these texts be read if they are unavailable to read?
:: And yet they are. Not only because they are so rare in themselves as barely to be represented in the collections of any nation's major libraries, but more inexcusably by far, because no anthology of the basic texts in the making and understanding of wine has ever, to my knowledge, been published.
:: To me, this is as incomprehensible as the fact that there is no word for "wine-maker" in French. But fact it is, and this part of the site exists to help begin the process of correcting it.



:: Some important notes:
:: The documents on this site are transcriptions, not scans. That is, I have typed them by hand, letter by letter, into my Macintosh in a font as close as possible - and that's usually quite close indeed - to the original setting, with all the orginal formatting and special characters carefully preserved. I have then converted these transcriptions to Adobe Acrobat files, and have posted them on the site in that format.
:: This is altogether painstaking, but well worth it: the text retains nearly all of its original aroma and flavor, clearly a crucial point in wine-making, while still permitting anyone, anywhere, to download it quickly and easily, on any sort of computer or internet connection.
:: Anyone, that is, who has Adobe Acrobat Reader installed. It comes pre-installed on almost all computers now being sold, but if its not on yours, it can be downloaded at no cost into almost any system by clicking on this link: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/alternate.html



:: Since the whole object here is to provide an archive of original texts, it follows that these texts will appear in their original language. For the most part, that language isn't English; on the other hand, for the most part, the native language of visitors to this site isn't English, either. At some point, I hope to have such luxury of time that I can produce facing-page translations, for the challenge of it, and because English tends to be the second language of those for whom it isn't the first; but it would be absurd not to post the original texts in the meanwhile.
:: The transcriptions appear in the index in chronological order, but according to when the original text was written, not when it was translated or published. Thus, a 16th-century English translation of Xenophon will appear under "Ancient Greece", not under "16th Century".
:: Most transcriptions include some sort of introduction. These introductions have no pretense to scholarly rigor, but should give the general reader some idea what the selection is about.
:: But, the introductions were only accessible originally by downloading the entire transcription, rather defeating the purpose of helping you to decide if you wanted to do that in the first place. So I've created a section that reproduces all of the introductions in a simple html format that's easy to browse through. Brilliantly, it's called "Introductions".
:: No matter what care I have taken to make these transcriptions accurate, I shall have made mistakes, and questions shall remain. In either case, or particularly in both, please address a note to library@wine-maker.net, and I'll do what I can.



:: When I posted the first of these texts, I said that they might well appeal to a dozen people worldwide; but that those people are my friends. Quite true; but I feel very fortunate to have discovered since how many more such friends I actually have out there.


— Sean Thackrey
February, 2004

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"...Greek alphabetic writing from the moment of its appearance was a vehicle of poetry and humor, to be read in private homes. For instance, the first preserved example of Greek alphabetic writing, scratched onto an Athenian wine jug of about 740 B.C., is a line of poetry announcing a dancing contest: 'Whoever of all dancers performs most nimbly will win this vase as a prize'. The next example is three lines of dactylic hexameter scratched onto a drinking cup: 'I am Nestor's delicious drinking cup. Whoever drinks from this cup swiftly will the desire of fair-crowned Aphrodite seize him'. The earliest preserved examples of the Etruscan and Roman alphabets are also inscriptions on drinking cups and wine containers. Only later did the alphabet's easily learned vehicle of private communication become co-opted for public or bureaucratic purposes."

— Jared Diamond
Guns, Germs, and Steel; 1997.
p.236

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LibraryIndexPage

Introductions::introduction

 

 

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