lunedì 4 aprile 2011

A good read is like reading your autobiography ...

... written by someone else.

I am reading the Essays of Elia by Charles Lamb, and just read this in the essay Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading:

How beautiful to a genuine lover of reading are the sullied leaves, and worn out appearance, nay, the very odour (beyond Russia), if we would not forget kind feelings in fastidiousness, of an old "Circulating Library" Tom Jones, or Vicar of Wakefield! How they speak of the thousand thumbs, that have turned over their pages with delight!—of the lone sempstress, whom they may have cheered (milliner, or harder-working mantua-maker) after her long day's needle-toil, running far into midnight, when she has snatched an hour, ill spared from sleep, to steep her cares, as in some Lethean cup, in spelling out their enchanting contents! Who would have them a whit less soiled? What better condition could we desire to see them in?

and realised I am that lone sempstress now, snatching an hour from sleep to steep my cares in a cup of tea.

It is always nice to find a good friend you did not know you had, but who knows you well, as a true friend should.


1 commento:

  1. "I further believe that when we read a book (...) in which the author reached that sought-after place and was able to know the Other from within him but still remain himself, we readers experience a unique sensation of spiritual elevation, of sharing a rare opportunity to touch a precious human secret. This sensation is accompanied by another no less precious and moving, which is a true intimacy with the person about whom the story is told. It is a sense of deep, emphatic understanding of the character and his motives, even if we utterly disagree with them. At these times we catch sight of a similarity - sometimes surprising, sometimes enraging and threatening - between this character and ourselves. And thus, even if the character arouses resistence, aversion or disgust, these reactions no longer create in us a total alienation to the character; they do not separate us from him. They prevent us from sharply, unequivocally, perhaps uncompassionately condemning the character. On the contrary: we often feel that only by some miracolous twist of fate have we been spared from becoming that detestable character ourselves, and that the possibility of being that character still exists and murmurs within us, in our genetic reservoir."
    David Grossman