For Em.

April (1914)

For you I tear from my travel diary and copy out as a postscript to the insufficient letters I sent you these even more insufficient leaves. I was planning to complete and to perfect them; I cannot do so. While travelling, one notes down from day to day in the hope of recomposing these stories at leisure and of carefully retracing the landscapes on one’s return. Then one notices that all the art put into this work only manages to dilute the original emotion, of which the most naive expression will always be the best. Consequently I transcribe these notes just as they are, without sweetening their tartness. Alas! the days which were most completely filled with the liveliest emotions are also those of which nothing remains in this notebook, those when I had time only for living.

— Gide, Journal (tr. O’Brien)

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