—Los Angeles Review of Books
In Borges’s story, the Aleph is a synonym for infinity, a point that contains all other points in space. Peering into it, one can see into the far corners of the universe and beyond. Reading de Maistre’s Voyage is a similarly vertiginous experience: one can visualize the spirit of the counter-Enlightenment as it vies for a trajectory of its own among those occupied by the bêtes and the offspring of science. The cloistered Count turns into something Borges would have recognized from his own encounters with silence: a kind of Aleph, however unworthy — a door to the infinite.
—Alain de Botton
De Maistre pioneered a mode of travel that was to make his name: room travel. Dressed in pink-and-blue pajamas, satisfied within the confines of his own bedroom, Xavier de Maistre was gently nudging us to try, before taking off for distant hemispheres, to notice what we have already seen.
The late eighteenth century is when modernity (more exactly, the modernities) began. Sterne, Diderot, Rousseau…among the effortlessly brilliant writers of that incandescent era, there still remains Xavier de Maistre to discover or rediscover.