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5.05.2009

'...People read for diversion; for relaxation; to inform themselves; to stave off anxiety in airplanes, when the flight attendant is out of wine and beer. A book can make a good door stop; and if you find yourself especially angry at the cat, have a good throwing arm, and a good angle — well, there's no end of uses for a book. But if you're going to take a book into a room, where the objective is to educate people — education being from the Latin educere, meaning "lead out of" and then presumably toward something — then you should consider using the book to help lead those who want to go out from their own lives into another, if only a few steps....

'Just so, we need to befriend the texts that we choose to teach. They too are the testaments of human beings who have lived and suffered in the world. They too deserve honor and respect. If you have a friend whose every significant utterance you need to translate into another idiom — whose two is not the real two, as Emerson says — then that is a friend you need to jettison. If there are texts that you cannot befriend, then leave them to the worms of time — or to the kinder ministrations of others.'

- Mark Edmundson, 'Against Readings'

Wish I'd read this article aloud in my master's courses. Of course, it was only just published last month...

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