By Alberto Manguel
Publish yr note: First released in 2006
In this significant choice of his essays, Alberto Manguel, whom George Steiner has known as “the Casanova of reading,” argues that the task of examining, in its broadest experience, defines our species. “We come into the realm cause on discovering narrative in everything,” writes Manguel, “landscape, the skies, the faces of others, the pictures and phrases that our species create.” studying our personal lives and people of others, studying the societies we are living in and people who lie past our borders, interpreting the worlds that lie among the covers of a publication are the essence of A Reader on Reading.
The thirty-nine essays during this quantity discover the crafts of analyzing and writing, the identification granted to us by means of literature, the far-reaching shadow of Jorge Luis Borges, to whom Manguel learn as a tender guy, and the hyperlinks among politics and books and among books and bodies. The powers of censorship and highbrow interest, the artwork of translation, and people “numinous reminiscence palaces we name libraries” additionally determine during this striking assortment. For Manguel and his readers, phrases, in any case, lend coherence to the realm and provide us “a few secure locations, as genuine as paper and as bracing as ink,” to furnish us room and board in our passage.
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Extra info for A Reader on Reading
Did the epithet hurled at me insultingly on that remote school bus grant me citizenship in that ancient, beleaguered, questioning, stubborn, wise people? Was I—am I—part of Them? Am I a Jew? Who am I? On Being Jewish 25 Alice, a human child, and the fawn, one of the hunted, echo this last question, and like me are tempted to answer it not with words born from what they know themselves to be but with words coined by those who stand outside and point. Every group that is the object of prejudice has this to say: we are the language in which we are spoken, we are the images in which we are recognized, we are the history we are condemned to remember because we have been barred from an active role in the present.
And if this cannot be achieved (because in some cases the malady is too far advanced), then the best thing for the creature to do is assume the other, lesser role designed by society in its binary plan, that of an ersatz woman. ” A previous class had warned us that if we drew a female figure, the counselor would assume that our fantasy was to be a woman; if we drew a male figure, that we were attracted to a man. In either case we would be lectured on the terrors of deviancy. Deviants, the counselor had told the other class, always ended up murdered by sailors on the dockside.
It lends them potency and clarity and resourcefulness and originality, which are all good things to have if one is to create a literature. ” his scaly friend replied. “There is another shore, you know, upon the other side. ” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 10 BETWEEN THE END OF HIGH school in Buenos Aires and the beginnings of a full-time publishing career in Europe, I spent a splendid decade in Paris and London reading in an almost perfectly haphazard way, dipping into books that were too expensive for me to buy, skimming over others that incautious friends had lent me, borrowing a few from public libraries for company rather than for instruction’s sake, and hardly ever finishing anything.
A Reader on Reading by Alberto Manguel