“Darkness Gathers Around the Book”

“I read and I daydream …. My reading is thus a sort of impertinent absence.  Is reading an exercise in ubiquity?”  An initial, indeed initiatory, experience:  to read is to be elsewhere, where they are not, in another world; it is to constitute a secret scene, a place one can enter and leave when one wishes; to create dark corners into which no one can see within an existence subjected to technocratic transparency and that implacable light that, in Genet’s work, materializes the hell of social alienation.  Marguertie Duras has noted:  “Perhaps one always reads in the dark …. Reading depends on the obscurity of the night.  Even if one reads in broad daylight, outside, darkness gathers around the book.”

— From Michel de Certeau’s The Practice of Everyday Life, Chapter 12, “Reading as Poaching” (173).  The initial quote is from Guy Rosolato’s Essais sur le symbolique.

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