Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realised that not infrequently books speak of other books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then a place of a long centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing…
Umberto Eco The Name of the Rose
at ego tibi sermone isto Milesio uarias fabulas conseram auresque tuas beniuolas lepido susurro permulceam… (But I would join together a variety of tales for you in that Milesian mode, and I would enchant your kindly ears with a charming murmur…)
The speaking book? Apuleius Metamorphoses
In the chapter called ‘Terce’ of the Second Day, the Franciscan monk William of Baskerville and his young apprentice Adso visit the scriptorium of an abbey in northern Italy, and discover, among the papers of the murdered Greek translator Venantius, a surprising text:
Another Greek book was open on the lectern, the work on which Venantius had been exercising his skill as translator in the past days. At that time I knew no Greek, but my master read the title and said this was by a certain Lucian and was the story of a man turned into an ass. I recalled then a similar fable by Apuleius, which, as a rule, novices were strongly advised against reading.
(Eco, The Name of the Rose, 128)