A book unwritten is more than a void. It accompanies the work one has done like an active shadow, both ironic and sorrowful. It is one of the lives we could have lived, one of the journeys we did not take. Philosophy teaches that negation can be determinant. It is more than a denial of possibility. Privation has consequences we cannot forsee or gauge accurately. It is the unwritten book which might have made the difference. Which might have allowed one to fail better. Or perhaps not.

George Steiner My Unwritten Books (2008), Introduction.