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The following is an excerpt of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa's novel The life of a fool:

He read a book by Anatole France, his head propped up by a pillow of skepticism exuding a rosy fragrance; the presence in that same pillow of a centaur quite escaped his notice.

Having read some novels written by France, I trust I understand the first part that comes before the semicolon, but this reference to a centaur just escapes my understanding. As far as know centaurs were considered to be symbols of wisdom (apart from some other qualities).

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  • Not an answer, but you may enjoy this fan art based on the same quote.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 12:09
  • @Randal'Thor That is nice. Apparently, that person was impressed by the same excerpt. Definitely not an answer, but thank you.
    – S. N.
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 12:17
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    Anatole France’s book Penguin Island has several references to centaurs, including a ref to St Antony meeting with one. That might be an avenue to explore. gutenberg.org/files/1930/1930-h/1930-h.htm Since I don’t know the ‘Life of a Fool’ I won’t essay an answer myself, but look forward to reading someone else’s!
    – Spagirl
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 12:51
  • @Spagirl Yes, I agree, that sounds like a very interesting lead. Your comment is certainly appreciated. I have read «Penguin island». However, it happened to be a while ago, so I could not remember these details. If no answer will come, that would be a good starting point for me to start my own «sleuthing».
    – S. N.
    Commented May 12, 2021 at 16:22

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