Friday, January 23, 2009

Grossman on Difficult Reading

David Grossman's collection of essays, Writing in the Dark, was one of only 3 books I rated a perfect 5 out of 5 last year. I continue to find treasures buried in this slim volume. Here is Grossman on the benefits of difficult reading:
In the early 1960s we read books in archaic and poetic Hebrew; we read translations from the 1920s and '30s that did not employ our daily language at all. The incomprehensibility imposed on us was certainly a barrier to fluid reading, but in hindsight I think that part of my reading experience in that period came from this very same incomprehensibility: the mystery and the exoticism of words with an odd ring, and the pleasure of inferring one thing from another ... learning to view language as an entity with a life all its own.

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