How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read

Bayard, Pierre 2007. How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read. Bloomsbury USA, New York

Sain vihje selle raamatu kohta ja järgmisel hommikul ärgates tundsin vajadust seda lugeda. Internet tuli läbi ja pakkus allalaadimise. Lühidalt räägib see teos sellest, kuidas hinnata mitte raamatute sisu, vaid seda, mis neid ümbritseb: "The interior of the book is less important than its exterior, or, if you prefer, the interior of the book is its exterior, since what counts in a book is the books alongside it." Siin on näha strukturalistliku semioloogi mõttekäiku. Bayard kohtlen "raamatuid" süsteemina ja kogu süsteemi tundmiseks tuleb tunda süsteemi elemente - selleks, et tunda ühte raamatut, tuleb tunda ka teda ümbritsevaid raamatuid. Mulle meenus kohe Saussure - samasuse loob erinevuste süsteem. Sama käsitlust jätkab ta eksplitsiitselt hiljem:
A book is an element in the vast ensemble I have called the collective library, which we do not need to know comprehensively in order to appreciate any one of its elements. The trick is to define the book's place in that library, which gives it meaning in the same way a word takes on meaning in relation to other words. (Bayard 2007: 117)
Raamatu sügavam point on see, et raamatute lugemine hoiab ennast tagasi loomisest. Autor innustab lugejat mitte lugema põhjalikult ja looma raamatute sisu enda jaoks ise. Seda mõtet järgides loob ta väidetavalt ka raamatus kasutatud ilmekad tsitaadid. Siin on katkend, mis võib ja võib mitte olla Umberto Eco teoses "Name of the Rose":
...laughter is weakness, corruption, the foolishness of our flesh. It is the peasant's entertainment, the drunkard's license; even the church in her wisdom has granted the moment of fest, carnival, fair, this diurnal pollution that releases humors and distracts from other desires and other ambitions . . . Still, laighter remains base, a defense for the simple, a mystery desecrated for the plebeians.
Ja veel mõned meeldivad tsitaadid:
Even as I read, I start to forget what I have read, and this process is unavoidable. It extends to the point where it's as though I haven't read the book at all, so that in effect I find myself rejoining the ranks of non-readers, where I should no doubt have remained in the first place. At this point, saying we have read a book becomes essentially a form of metonymy. When it comes to books, we never read more than a püortion of greater or lesser lenght, and that portion is, in the longer or shorter term, condemned to disappear. When we talk about books, then, to ourselves and to others, it would be more accurate to say we are talking about our approximate recollections of books, rearranged as a function of current circumstances. (Bayard 2007: 47-48)
Authority is an essential element at play in our discussion of books, if only because citing a text is most often a way of establishing one's own authority or contesting that of others. (Bayard 2007: 70)
It is these inner books that make our exchanges about books so difficult, rendering it impossible to establish unanimity about the object of discussion. They are part of what I have called, in my study of Hamlet, an inner paradigm - a system for perceiving reality that is so idiosyncratic that no two paradigms can tryly communicate.
The existence of the inner book, along with unreading or forgetting, is what makes the way we discuss books so discontinuous and heterogeneous. What we take to be the books we have read is in fact an anomalous accumulation of fragments of texts, reworked by our imagination and unrelated to the books of others, even if these books are materially identical to ones we have held in our hands. (Bayard 2007: 85-86)
In the numerous situations where we find it necessary to charm another person, such a mathod might allow us to indicate to him or her that we share a common cultural universe. By training himself in Rita's preferred reading material and thus penetrating as deeply as possible into her private world, Phil is straining to create the illusion that their inner books are the same. And perhaps an ideal and deeply shared love should indeed give each lover access to the secret texts of which the other is composed. (Bayard 2007: 108)


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