The Traveler, the Tower, and the Worm
The Reader as Metaphor
Publication Year: 2013
As far as one can tell, human beings are the only species for which the world seems made up of stories, Alberto Manguel writes. We read the book of the world in many guises: we may be travelers, advancing through its pages like pilgrims heading toward enlightenment. We may be recluses, withdrawing through our reading into our own ivory towers. Or we may devour our books like burrowing worms, not to benefit from the wisdom they contain but merely to stuff ourselves with countless words.
With consummate grace and extraordinary breadth, the best-selling author of A History of Reading and The Library at Night considers the chain of metaphors that have described readers and their relationships to the text-that-is-the-world over a span of four millennia. In figures as familiar and diverse as the book-addled Don Quixote and the pilgrim Dante who carries us through the depths of hell up to the brilliance of heaven, as well as Prince Hamlet paralyzed by his learning, and Emma Bovary who mistakes what she has read for the life she might one day lead, Manguel charts the ways in which literary characters and their interpretations reflect both shifting attitudes toward readers and reading, and certain recurrent notions on the role of the intellectual: "We are reading creatures. We ingest words, we are made of words. . . . It is through words that we identify our reality and by means of words that we ourselves are identified."
Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press
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...ties and the identity of the world around us as if they required on the careful intelligence of the one who speaks or writes and on the creative intelligence of the one who listens or reads. to enhance the possibilities of mutual understanding and to create with a particular shared meaning. literate societies, societies ...
1 The Reader as Traveler: Reading as Recognition of the World
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...in the left margin of a fifteenth-century French manuscript,1 a small illumination serves as incipit for the text. it shows, against upon a baby child strapped to its cradle. the scene depicted is tion is Moses himself; the basket in which he is sent downriver is a thick, red, bound book. in an effort to ally the teachings of ...
2 The Reader in the Ivory Tower: Reading as Alienation from the World
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...in front of a cosy fire, a curled-up dog at his feet, a man in a green dressing gown sits in his reading chair, but he isn’t read-ing. His book lies closed on an adjacent wooden chest. His head, a white pillow. His right hand holds his robe, his left hand is tucked inside, as if to keep warm or to feel the beatings of his ...
3 The Bookworm: The Reader as Inventor of the World
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...hands: his body is cocooned in a sheaf of printed paper, poised Gérard, known as Grandville. the meaning of the jest is clear: here is someone literally made out of print, so absorbed in the and though his cocoon-like appearance suggests that a butterfly might be born from his captive state, no indication is given of ...
Conclusion: Reading to Live
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...two and a half centuries after the publication of the first part the perception of reality. the reader as traveler, the reader in the ivory tower, the reader as devourer of books, all appear in Flaubert’s works from his very earliest writings. the reader as experience. “read to live!”1 is his famous advice to his friend, ...
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...ians at the Free library, the rosenbach library, the university visit. special thanks to Fr. lucien-Jean bord, chief librarian at ...
Page Count: 144
Illustrations: 19 illus.
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Material Texts