viernes, 26 de abril de 2024

Some Thoughts on Rereading

Notes (2003) from

Birkerts, Sven. “Some Thoughts on Rereading.” In Second Thoughts: A Focus on Rereading. Ed. David Galef. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1998. 340-43.*


        “you cannot reread a novel, you can only read it” (340) (—cf. Heraclitus). Vs. Nabokov’s opposite dictum (i.e. that you cannot read a novel, you can only reread it).


        “To paraphrase Wallace Stevens: two people talking about one book are two people talking about two books” (342).


        Birkerts seems to imply that time makes each of us two different people reading (no actually rereading) two different books.


        Hindsight modifies the second reading, and we no longer read the same thing, so there is no “rereading” strictu sensu.


        “The subtlest and most potent pleasures of rereading derive from this strange correspondence between written narrative and the narrative that we fashion of our own lives.” (342). 


        “Rereading flatters me by allowing me the vantage of a god, or at least of an author” (343). 


        Identity as will to repeat: you are (or you become) what you’d like to be, what you reread—what you repeat. 


        Personal identity, self-making, as far as reading as re-reading go, is a process of self-construction through repetition.



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