A collaborative effort

A Reading Note

A text lives only as long as a reader attends to it:

Literature is a collaborative effort, not as editors and writing schools will have it, but as readers and writers have known from the very first line of verse set down in clay. A poet fashions out of words something that ends with the last full stop and comes to life again with its first reader’s eye. But that eye must be a particular eye, an eye not distracted by baubles or mirrors, concentrated instead on the bodily assimilation of words, reading both to digest a book and to be digested by it. “Books,” Frye once noted, “are to be lived in.”

Manguel, A Reader on Reading, page 93

The reader is both consumer and consumed, at once all-powerful and vulnerable. A reader brings a text into existence only to find herself defined by what she reads.

Related books

A Reader on Reading

Alberto Manguel

A series of essays from the author of A History of Reading that explores the reader’s perspective.