On a horizon that receded further each day, they glimpsed things at once strange and wondrous. Admiring an old piece of furniture, they regretted not having lived at the time it was used, even though they knew absolutely nothing about the period. Certain names evoked images of countries that were all the more beautiful in that they could say nothing specific about them. Books whose titles were unintelligible to them seemed to contain untold mysteries. And, having more ideas, they suffered more acutely.
Bouvard and Pecuchet, Gustave Flaubert
Unfinished at his death in 1880