Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Underlining a word was a very serious offence

As for the library, the regulations that had to be followed were singularly severe. Books could not be taken out of the factory under any circumstances; they could be consulted only with the consent of the librarian, Signorina Paglietta. Underlining a word, or just making a mark with pen or pencil, was a very serious offence: Paglietta was expected to check every book, page by page, when returned, and if she found a mark, the book had to be destroyed and replaced at the expense of the culprit.

Primo Levi, The Periodic Table, (Phosphorus),  Penguin 2000, p.94 (first published 1975)


  1. interesting concept

    quoting is a form of underlining, isn't it

    so devious

  2. Oh, I wish they'd give Signorina Paglietta a job at Essex University library!