Whereas writing expresses a space in opposition to time, reading occupies a boundary between the space of writing and the living word. The importance of translation and collective interpretation acts to reinvigorate a sense of the participatory action in a proposed democratic society.
And the thing about Thomas Aquinas, is that thing that everyone says, “HE WAS THE FIRST PERSON IN HISTORY TO READ WITHOUT MOVING HIS LIPS!” The privatization of the space that you make when you read—the novel is the extrapolation of that space—the issue of privatization.
“I . . . I don’t read too good.”
She smiled. “Yes, you do. Now.” In the dim cabin her lips were still underlit. “Besides, all you have to do is read the titles. The library broadcast takes care of imprinting the text on your mind. In half a second. Go on.”
In reading a novel, any novel, we have to know perfectly well that the whole thing is nonsense, and then, while reading, believe every word of it. Finally, when we’re done with it, we may find—if it’s a good novel—that we’re a bit different from what we were before we read it, that we have been changed a little, as if by having met a new face, crossed a street we never crossed before. But it’s very hard to say just what we learned, how we were changed.
The artist deals with what cannot be said in words.
The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.