Thursday, June 20, 2013

The destruction of the body by fire —
what a cleanly, sanitary, dignified,
yes, heroic conception that was,
compared with abandoning it
to the miserable processes
of decay and assimilation
by the lower forms of life!
For what the fire destroyed
was the more perishable part of the body,
the elements which
even during one’s life
were got rid of by metabolism;
whereas those which
accompanied man through life,
taking least share in the process of change,
those became the ashes,
and with them
the survivors possessed
the deceased’s imperishable part.
(Settembrini from The Magic Mountain)

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