I remember rather little of my life and what I do remember is of small consequence. Most of the thoughts I now recall as having been interesting to me owe their significance to the time when they occured. If any do not, they have no doubt been expressed much better by someone else. A writer's biography is in his twists of language. I remember, for instance, that when I was ten or twelve it occured to me that Marx's dictum that"existence conditions consciousness"was true only for as long as it takes consciousness to acquire the art of estrangement; thereafter, consciousness is on its own and can both condition and ignore existence. At that age, this was hardly a discovery--but one hardly worth recording, and surely it had been better stated by others.
-- Joseph Brodsky (extract from "Less Than One: Selected Essays")