“Yet does the fact that we can read a book limit it to that exclusive use? I hope not. I think it’s possible to love the idea of a book or its title (how many great titles have been wasted on mediocre books) or the way it feels in your hands or looks on your shelf or smells or the memories it evokes or the possibilities it contains. Many of us own books that we treasure solely as objects or talismans, whether due to any above-mentioned reasons or for more sentimental ones. I think it’s possible that the feeling we have for a book, based on affinity, memory, or potential, is sufficient to serve as the only justification necessary for our enthusiasm. I might even argue, with Mallarmé, that the ideal book is one that we never open, since an unopened book contains our dreams, whereas an open book contains someone else’s.”
Read more at Tin House.
[I wrote an essay about one of my favorite books, which I’ve never actually read. Apparently, when you confess to such things, you are rewarded with a personalized banner.]
What kind of world do we live in when young men are so proud of violating unconscious girls that they pass proof around to their friends? It’s the same kind of world in which being labeled a slut comes with such torturous social repercussions that suicide is preferable to enduring them. As a woman named Sara Erdmann so aptly tweeted to me, “I will never understand why it is more shameful to be raped than to be a rapist.”
And yet it is: so much so that young men seem to think there’s nothing wrong with—and maybe something hilarious about—sharing pictures of themselves raping young women. And why not? Their friends will defend them, as they did in Steubenville, tweeting that the young woman was “asking for it” and that the boys were being unfairly targeted.
Women and girls are the ones expected to carry the shame of the sexual crimes perpetrated against them. And that shame is a tremendous load to bear, because once you’re labeled a slut, empathy and compassion go out the window. The word is more than a slur—it’s a designation.
“When we’re reading, the book is our new land, our frontier; finding the distinctive marks of a previous reading is like discovering a fossilized campfire site or cave-wall drawing: evidence of ancestors.”
Apparently Arab scholars, when speaking of the text, use this admirable expression: the certain body. What body? We have several of them; the body of anatomists and physiologists, the one science sees or discusses: this is the text of grammarians, critics, commentators, philologists (the pheno-text). But we also have a body of bliss consisting solely of erotic relations, utterly distinct from the first body: it is another contour, another nomination; thus with the text: it is no more than the fires of language. …Does the text have human form, is it a figure, an anagram of the body? Yes, but of our erotic body. The pleasure of the text is irreducible to physiological need.
The pleasure of the text is that moment when my body pursues its own ideas — for my body does not have the same ideas I do.
|—||Roland Barthes, The Pleasure of the Text (via)|
There’s nothing inherently wrong with you. And you do not lack the intelligence to understand me. Quite the opposite. So, while we are contemplating honesty, with its mirrored qualities, let me simply explain that you will never know the finer facts. Because the truth lies among in betweens. And…
|—||William H. Gass (via mitford)|
|—||W.G. Sebald (via invisiblestories)|
I have let go
I have forgotten what I let go of
I look across to you to speak
And have become a monster to myself
|—||From Martin Corless-Smith’s English Fragments: A Brief History of the Soul (via invisiblestories)|