Friday, April 21, 2017

Reading the First and Ultimate Pleasure

We persevere, because reading still brings information, stimulation, and solace. It is the first and the ultimate pleasure. Willard Spiegelman.

What can I say, but Yes.

I have spent close on 60 years as a reader and I will read until I die. Reading is truly the first and ultimate pleasure of my life.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Virginia Woolf on Letter Writing

The art of letter-writing is often the art of essay-writing in disguise.

Woolf while talking about women in literature made the germane quote above about women writers. Until the 1800's it was considered unseemly for women to be writers, but letter writing was considered to be acceptable. We begin to get a glimpse of the lives of women through women's eyes emerging in their letters. While many of the letters may have been somewhat bland, they did give some insight into the lives and concerns of women in the 1700's.

In fact some of these letters were lengthy and polemic and would nowadays be considered as essays..
Woolf's own letters also reveal much of life in late Victorian and early Georgian times.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Samuel Johnson on the Common Reader

“… I rejoice to concur with the common reader; for by the common sense of readers, uncorrupted by literary prejudices, after all the refinements of subtilty and the dogmatism of learning, must be generally decided all claim to poetical honours.”—Dr. Johnson , Life of Gray .

Long live the common reader. This is the quote from which Virginia Woolf took the title of her books, The Common Reader1 and The Common Reader2.

I am reading these books again and I'm refreshed with Woolf's style. No academic jargon or philosophical high flying. Just readable essays that we "commoners" can appreciate.



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