A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel

By Alberto Manguel

At one magical quick on your early youth, the web page of a bookthat string of harassed, alien ciphersshivered into which means. phrases spoke to you, gave up their secrets and techniques; at that second, entire universes opened. You turned, irrevocably, a reader. famous essayist Alberto Manguel strikes from this crucial second to discover the 6000-year-old dialog among phrases and that magician with no whom the e-book will be a dull item: the reader. Manguel lingers over analyzing as seduction, as uprising, as obsession, and is going directly to hint the never-before-told tale of the reader's development from clay capsule to scroll, codex to CD-ROM.

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In the twentieth century, this changes. Think of the “French” poets Apollinaire and Cendrars, both of them pseudonymous poets who were not French at all. Think of Tristan Tzara (Sammy Rosenbaum) or the Czech Jewish Kafka writing in German or in the US, the various African-American poets. By the later twentieth century in America, exile has become the aesthetic norm from Black Mountain (founded by Josef Albers) to the absorption of French poststructuralist theory and the Frankfurt School. The New Critics (John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Allen Tate) were largely Christian Americans; later critics primarily came from elsewhere—Hugh Kenner, for instance, from Canada—or were, like Harold Bloom, Bronx Jews.

Her long lines are full of dead prepositional phrases or needless adverbs. Aji: As a translator, I have experienced that poetry readings, or at least the reading of a poem aloud, actually narrows its meaning, while at the same time it prevents a sort of unlimited interpretation. Perloff: That’s a very interesting point. The convention of the poetry reading does pose problems. It assumes that one “gets it” at first hearing. ” or “Terrific,” as if they had already taken it all in. How can this be?

My grandfather was a leading diplomat (the only Jew to become Foreign Secretary ever) and so thought of himself as somehow exempt from the Nazi terror. When the Anschluss occurred, he escaped by walking over the Alps—rather like in The Sound of Music. But he was not entirely blameless in that he, like so many of the educated Jews, didn’t see the handwriting on the wall even though, from the late 20s on, the Nazis in Vienna had terrorized university students suspected of being Jewish, and Hitler was very popular.

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