DUST TO DUST
Arcadia to Academia,
The poet Wolfgang Goethe
apologized for his famous autobiography:
The individual is
lost to us, our memory of him fades, yet it is important to him
and to others that it be retained.
None of us is more
an individual nor can one take interest in anything other than the
individual. The generality takes care of itself, insists on
itself, maintains and expands itself. We use it, but love it not.
We love only the
individual, and that accounts for our joy in presentations,
confessions, memoirs, letters and anecdotes about departed, even
The question as to
whether one dare to write one's own biography is a gaucherie. I
call him who does so the most courteous of all people.
If one just
oneself, one's motive for doing it makes no difference.
It is not at all
necessary that one be blameless or that one's accomplishments be
excellent and unimpeachable--only that it be something in which others
take profit or delight.