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

By Dale Salwak (eds.)

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These persons and situations are also herself, Iris Murdoch, in that they disclose the inner workings, passions and compulsions of her own mind. None of them appears on the surface of our daily life; but I, like all her readers, have come to recognise and to love the depth and inwardness of her spirit and personality, revealed in her novels. My own case is, to put it mildly, somewhat different. I am a teacher and critic by trade, having become both by a stroke of luck w h e n I was about twenty-eight years old.

Indeed, it is the critic's task to show us why the people who make these mistakes are mistaken. Well then, what about cases where we understand something in the book that the author himself simply doesn't understand, where coming a century or two later, we are several steps ahead of him? Some theme or some quirk of character that he takes for Casaubon's Syndrome, or Reader Rampant 41 granted as part of the human condition we see as conditioned by the assumptions of his time - assumptions about class or colonialism or gender, say.

There is still plenty of escapism about, but it's seldom called that any more: the term has gone out of fashion. Harmless old-fashioned escapism has usually been replaced today by various sorts of addiction, some of them far from harmless. It's quite difficult to remember now the social and temporal climate in which books, like knitting or singing round the piano, were the normal thing, even the drab usual daily thing, the thing everyone took for granted. In a quaint little compendium on 'What to Read and Why' the novelist Arnold Bennett took it for granted that everyone read, even read for a good number of hours a week.

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