Henrik's Reviews > The Reading of Books

The Reading of Books by Holbrook Jackson
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Mar 08, 2009

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bookshelves: scholarship
Recommended to Henrik by: Christina
Recommended for: those enjoying historical ideas about reading and writing
Read in April, 2009

3½ stars.

Interesting enough, and clearly by a scholar who enjoys reading a lot, which I can only appreciate, of course;-) The book has an approach that shows that it's from the first part of the 20th Century, though; sounding a little quaint nowadays.

I can see why the author, Jackson, keeps mentioning and quoting classic writers, and especially poets, already long dead when he wrote the book, but it only shows how old-fashioned he is in many ways. This is especially clear when he is discussing the modernists--those in his own time. He does seem to find it hard to accept as real artists, for real, those not "in tune" with the past and with Nature, in some way. And "art for art's sake" is clearly not something to take seriously.

Writing with ideas/propaganda in mind is evidently not to his liking (regardless of what they propose and personal preferences, so he is, it must be noted, trying to be balanced on this issue). On this point I find myself in close to 100% agreement.

He does have an interesting argument for "bookmanship" as being reading for life, and not "merely" for reading; and I have a certain sympathy for his idea that pleasure and enjoyment alone can go a long way of doing this. About such matters there's not much of a snob in Jackson, and this is a point I think we can learn something about.

(A side-note: Many of the ideas, if not always the actual angle, herein would probably have sounded okay in Lovecraft's ears, with his classicism and all.)
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Reading Progress

04/22/2009 page 88
29.73% "A little outdated, but still useful:-)"
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Christina (new) - added it

Christina So only a bit useful for your thesis, then?


Henrik Yes, you could say that. But I'd say it's useful enough, so that's a-okay:-)


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