Friday, April 24, 2009

Any good reader...

Any good reader certainly tries, in Henry James's phrase, to be one on whom nothing is lost. We constantly adjust our expectations, not seeking to find in Proust the terseness of Hemingway, or in Joyce the headlong action of Alexandre Dumas. But it's impossible to wholly put aside our genders, our past experiences, and, not least, our often peculiar tastes. -- Michael Dirda

Pictured: Gérard de Lairesse - Allegory of the Five Senses


Jennifer S. Flescher said...

Look at all those names!

Ms Baroque said...

Oh, I always took the James injunction as being about LIFE - for one thing, he gave it as advice to a WRITER, not a reader. For another, he was acutely sensitive to the world, and I'm sure he is asking others also to be. Or to try to be.

I take it to mean, "try not to let anything slip through the net if you can help it." I take it to mean, "be alert." It certainly doesn't mean you have to like everything or "relate to" everything! Give up your identity in order to try and relate to what everyone says! Good grief no. James wasn't like that. He loved his peculiar tastes. It's only through your peculiar tastes that you can catch everything.