Why We Read

发表于:2014-12-01 11:31 [只看楼主] [划词开启]

Why We Read

2014-11-28 阅读笔记 英语学习笔记

C.S. Lewis on Why We Read

by Maria Popova


本科的时候读培根(Francis Bacon)的论读书(Of Study),醍醐灌顶: 读书无非就是寻个乐子,卖个关子,懂点事儿.Good Will Hunting中,哈佛装X男 vs. 小痞子马特达蒙那一幕告诉我们: 读点书可以用来炫耀,而把妹需要的是读很多书.

今天与大家分享的是作家克里夫•路易斯(纳尼亚传奇就是他写的)在An Experiment in Criticism中谈到的对文学的看法.

How great books both change us and make us more ourselves.

“A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another,” Rebecca Solnit wrote in her gorgeous contemplation on reading.

A century earlier, Kafka asserted in a memorable letter to his childhood friend that “a book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.”


Indeed, the question of what books do for the human soul and spirit stretches from ancient meditations to contemporary theories about the four psychological functions of reading. But hardly anyone has articulated the enchantment of literature more succinctly yet beautifully than C.S. Lewis, a man deeply invested in the authenticity of the written word.

In his 1961 book An Experiment in Criticismhe considers literatures’s immense power to expand our inner worlds:

Those of us who have been true readers all our life seldom fully realize the enormous extension of our being which we owe to authors.

We realize it best when we talk with an unliterary friend. He may be full of goodness and good sense but he inhabits a tiny world. In it, we should be suffocated.

The man who is contented to be only himself, and therefore less a self, is in prison. My own eyes are not enough for me, I will see through those of others. Reality, even seen through the eyes of many, is not enough. I will see what others have invented. Even the eyes of all humanity are not enough. I regret that the brutes cannot write books. Very gladly would I learn what face things present to a mouse or a bee; more gladly still would I perceive the olfactory(relating to the sense of smell) world charged(filled) with all the information and emotion it carries for a dog.

In broadening our individual reality, Lewis argues, great books also manage to contain and console our most overwhelming emotions:

Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality. There are mass emotions which heal the wound; but they destroy the privilege. In them our separate selves are pooled and we sink back into sub-individuality.


But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like a night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.


英文来自Brain Pickings,阅读原文查看介绍.

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