In a probing article that appeared not very long ago in this journal, G. W. Pigman III called attention to the following passage from Petrarch's Familiares which deals with the Italian author's unconscious reminiscence from well-known and often-read authoritative works:
I have read Virgil, Flaccus, Severinus, Tullius not once but countless times … . I ate in the morning what I would digest in the evening, I swallowed as a boy what I would ruminate upon as an older man. I have thoroughly absorbed these writings, implanting them not only in my memory but in my marrow, and they have so become one with my mind that were I never to read them for the remainder of my life, they would cling to me, having taken root in the innermost recesses of my mind. But sometimes I may forget the author, since through long usage and continual possession I may adopt them and for some time regard them as my own; and besieged by the mass of such writings, I may forget whose they are and whether they are mine or others'.