Saturday, May 16, 2009

Some Thoughts on the Lost Art of Reading Aloud

From an NYT editorial.

Reading aloud recaptures the physicality of words. To read with your lungs and diaphragm, with your tongue and lips, is very different than reading with your eyes alone. The language becomes a part of the body, which is why there is always a curious tenderness, almost an erotic quality, in those 18th- and 19th-century literary scenes where a book is being read aloud in mixed company. The words are not mere words. They are the breath and mind, perhaps even the soul, of the person who is reading.

The only reading aloud I experience is the scripture reading at church and in Bible classes. It seems we are afraid to show depth of feeling when we do that. Its as if we are trying to set some kind of speed reading record.


Carisse said...

I think we think of reading as a way to get information, so we just want to do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. If we could think of reading as experiencing something, we might like to slow down.

Steve said...

I never had any idea of the sensual part of reading until Jo Cleveland read us a passage in Soph Lit from the Canterbury Tales. Yes, there would be something to experience if we slowed down.

S.P. Lunger said...

Good post. I wrote this about oral/written language some time ago - it seems related to this.

Steve said...

I bought "The Soul's Code" based on reading your blog, arrived last week. Just started and it looks like it will be very good.

S.P. Lunger said...

I read the Soul's Code at a time of significant identity crisis. Hillman easily makes my top 10 in terms of influence. I hope you enjoy it.

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