“Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this is the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.” -- John Milton, Areopagitica (1644)
The prose borders on the surreal at times, with its trance-like sluggishness that seduces with its elegant descriptions of earth and ennui:
Here the trees sticking out of the surface were white as bone and draped with creepers. Driftwood floated idly past them, a few household items, broken birds' nests and strands of dark yellow flowers like garlands tossed from an abandoned wedding feast. …the dead fish lying on their sides in the sun, the crowns of interlaced branches. …On the banks lay upturned little boats, knee-high shrines and men fishing with poles at the edge of pale and impenetrable mangroves.