[ilds] reading and writing at the same time

william godshalk godshawl at email.uc.edu
Wed Apr 25 17:51:10 PDT 2007


I think it is possible (in fact I've been just doing it) to read and 
write concurrently. I read looking for a relevant passage to quote, 
and then I quote it -- or get it on this screen in some way. Durrell 
must have used this procedure -- at least sometimes -- when we catch 
him paraphrasing a passage that he has read -- I assume "just read' 
-- reading and writing simultaneously.

WLG


>I couldn't help noticing the colorful phrase "sterile and pretentious
>posts."  I haven't seen any posts fitting that description, but as a
>short-on-scholarship Reader's Reader (intuitive and uninformed), I
>understand the spirit of the accusation.
>
>The most intense aspects of any experience in the arts ipso facto defy
>discussability.  Somewhere Sontag talks about the notion of "talking about"
>art, how this notion has developed, how it is applied, and how arbitrary and
>counterproductive it is as a method of metabolizing experience (bad
>paraphrase).
>
>Any literary discussion has an indirect relationship to the book in
>question.  When we talk about reading, we talk about an experience which has
>expired, since it is physically--rather, mentally--impossible to read a
>sentence for the first time and simultaneously discuss it with someone else
>who is reading it for the first time.  Discussion is necessarily
>revisitation--nostalgia, a subtext of loss.  Discussion is itself "sterile"
>in contrast to the dynamic experience of reading.  Are we to favor a
>firebrand contentiousness which obliquely mirrors our volatile inner state
>as we read the AQ (or any piece of exciting literature) for the first time?
>That sensation is, to my mind, profoundly anti-social.
>
>My own feeling is that What Can Be Discussed about any work of art resides
>on a plane that is ungratifyingly low on the scale of experience--just as a
>discussion of a basketball game will inevitably fall short of the experience
>of watching the basketball game.  One can go only so far in verbally
>rendering athleticism and bouncing balls--and if one were to accept the
>challenge of going as far as possible in discussing the game, could (or
>should) the discussion achieve a level of intensity which matches that of
>watching the original event?
>
>It may be the case that the hardest-reading, most intuitive and brilliant
>reader of Durrell would avoid this sort of list altogether, just as Elton
>Trueblood suggested, after the Second World War, that "true Christians" were
>avoiding church--i.e., avoiding the institutionalization of a faith too
>vital to be caged.  This list is equivalent to an institutionalization of
>our collective faith in Durrell, and I gladly accept the "high church"
>trappings.  Our only other choice is to go solo, all locusts and wild honey
>and camel hair.  Sounds lonely.
>
>Belatedly,
>Alejandro Adams
>
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***************************************
W. L. Godshalk		*
Department of English         *
University of Cincinnati            Stellar disorder  *
Cincinnati OH 45221-0069      *
513-281-5927
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