A Passion for Books by Dale Salwak (eds.) PDF

By Dale Salwak (eds.)

ISBN-10: 0230374514

ISBN-13: 9780230374515

ISBN-10: 1349403318

ISBN-13: 9781349403318

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Extra resources for A Passion for Books

Sample text

Am I, I wonder, insufficiently interested in such ideas as works of literature may be said to contain? There are those, and I am among them, who claim that, w h e n it is going at its best, literature sails above the realm of ideas anyhow. 'He had a mind so fine no idea could violate it,' said T. S. Eliot The Pleasures of Reading 15 of Henry James. By that lovely rhythmic formulation I take Eliot to mean not that James was incapable of grasping or of functioning at the level of ideas, but instead that his true interest was elsewhere.

We may 40 Ferdinand Mount mishear, because the speaker's voice is too indistinct, or his brogue is too thick. Or we may misunderstand, because his vocabulary is too abstruse or laced with dialect words, because his words are interspersed with so much superfluous verbiage, or because we mistake his emphasis. Or we may fail to understand, because we are too ignorant, or too humourless. But most of the time, we reckon we understand well enough for our purposes; we do not in ordinary life despair of the possibility of communicating effectively with others.

Their students read less and less and rely more and more on a few set texts and standardized handbooks of criticism. It is perfectly possible now to do respectably well on an English course without reading any complete books at all, or developing a taste for reading and discovering them. Instead there has developed an almost unhealthy interest in Do It Yourself methods: how to write your own book has become of more pressing concern than learning to enjoy the work of others. There's nothing to be done about it of course.

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A Passion for Books by Dale Salwak (eds.)


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