Tuesday, July 22, 2008

From Eliot to Woolf to Montaigne

A July 20 New York Times article on downsized travel plans begins

When T.S. Eliot said that it is the journey, not the arrival, that matters. . . .
Did Eliot say that? It rings no bell for me. Google and Google Book Search turn up many attributions to Eliot but none with a source. The Journey Not the Arrival Matters though is the title of an autobiographical volume by Leonard Woolf (1969). A 1989 Times review of Woolf's letters attributes the title observation to Montaigne. I'm unable to find anything in Montaigne that concise, but in the essay "Of Vanity," Montaigne did write (in this 1877 Charles Cotton translation)
"But, at such an age, you will never return from so long a journey." What care I for that? I neither undertake it to return, nor to finish it: my business is only to keep myself in motion, whilst motion pleases me; I only walk for the walk's sake.
Yes, I've e-mailed the Times, for the walk's sake.

Related post
It is the correction that matters

comments: 0