Yesterday’s offering was Fiction and the Reading Public. I’d say the thesis of this work providing a history of taste, the periodical, and the press written in 1932 (and re-released in 1965) is that “where the general reader is concerned, the capacity for cumulative reading is formed or destroyed by environment.” The environment to which Q. P. Leavis refers is the marketplace that competes for the readers’ time with cheap magazines, drugstore novels, and daily newspapers. All this kept readers of the early 20th century from reading the good stuff. The author would be mortified by the addition of television dramas, blog sites, and social networking options. The main thing I took away: ask myself when I read if I am letting the good be the enemy of the best. I agree with her that “the general reading public is no longer in touch with the best literature of its own day or of the past, and why.”
Today I’ll try to plow through The American Renaissance. Until I started it, I never noticed that in a short period America turned out Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman. This book explores their influence on each other. Slightly less boring that some of the other stuff I’ve had on my list.
Meanwhile, I’m headed to take my girl to film camp at the Dallas Museum of Art (cinematography) and then on to the club to get some exercise. I am doing a lot of sitting. The Landry Center is among my favorite benefits of working at DTS!