Tuesday 1 August 2017

Reading as if for life

...and I sitting on my bed, reading as if for life.
David Copperfield, ch. 4
Whatever I had within me that was romantic and dreamy, was encouraged by so much story-telling in the dark...
Ch. 7
[The old books] were my only comfort; and I was as true to them as they were to me, and read them over and over I don't know how many times more.
Ch. 10
And so I lost her.* David Copperfield's words not mine, but never bettered. During the days which followed I read the book urgently, obsessively, in order to reassure myself of David's eventual victory over circumstance.
A Family Romance, ch. 6

Strange how one book leads to another. David Copperfield's treasured books comprise the classics of the eighteenth century. Smollett's Peregrine Pickle is a favourite. One wonders: was David's an expurgated edition? For my part I've never read it, though I want to and indeed I've tried to. (I once downloaded an edition on to my e-reader, but it was bowdlerised - and I didn't want to miss the best bits.)

Reading obsessively, reading 'as if for life' - that's surely the grail.

Peregrine Pickle saves Emilia

*For comments on Brookner's use of this quote, see an earlier post.

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