(Update Jan. 2015) I am beginning 2015 by rereading one of my all time favorite books for the 15th time, this time in the original language. It is abo(Update Jan. 2015) I am beginning 2015 by rereading one of my all time favorite books for the 15th time, this time in the original language. It is about time.
When I say read it in the original language it is more like a first- or third-grader sort of doping out a newspaper article that is too advanced for him. I know some of the words. I know the English translation so well that I have a good Idea of what is passing before my eyes. But it isn't really reading in the usual sense.
I am studying French for the second time. The first time was a disaster. I don't know what to say. Right now I am making progress. I thought it would be good to read a couple of pages per day as a form of immersion as part of the process. And in the end, the primary reason I am studying French is because I want to be able to read the book in its original language.
I have been through this before. It is about like 30 years ago when I reread the book all of those times in English. Sometimes it really was just the words passing over my eyes. But I would understand a little and then a little more until I came to be able to read it like any other book. So, I am optimistic. My goal is to have gotten through the French course by the end of the first week in September. My expectation is that I will pick up more and more as I learn more about the language and maybe have the reading comprehension of a 4th or 5th grader by the end of the calendar year.
-------------- I picked up this book in the summer of 1985. Over the next three years I read and reread it seven times. Once I realized it was going to be a multiple reading event I started varying my approach with each pass by dividing the book up into chunks and reading them in different orders. During my sixth run-through I did it backwards. I started with the last page of the book and read each page until I got to the title page. After that, I really had the content down and during the seventh I was able to comprehend everything like I would any other book during the first read through.
Why would a 21 to 24 year-old be motivated to do such a thing? Because it intrigued me. During each reread I picked up a little more. I liked what I saw, and during each pass I held more of the over-all picture in my mind. What he wrote was and is important to me. Because in the end, I believe Sartre was right more often than not.
He characterized us with the phrase "Man is the being who is what he is not and is not what he is." I think the way he worked that out in theme after theme explains a lot about what humans are, our behavior, and the reason we do the things we do. The last major section is easy to read. It outlines a new psychology based upon his phenomenological existentialism. I have always wished I could find such a thing.
In the decades since, I have returned to the book when my inner compulsion reaches a tipping point. I believe the last time was within the last two or three years. It will probably always be my number one favorite book....more
This is my first complete reading of this book. I read a section of it in the Barfield reader and then did alongish but unsatisfying read of most of tThis is my first complete reading of this book. I read a section of it in the Barfield reader and then did alongish but unsatisfying read of most of the book earlier in the year.
I have no problem believing that he leavened the intellectual horizons of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
It is difficult reading and I will need to give it another careful read to be confident about what the author meant. It is worth it. ...more