Reading for Delight

Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature (Harvest, 1982) p. 64:

Although we read with our minds, the seat of artistic delight is between the shoulder blades. … Let us be proud of our being vertebrates, for we are vertebrates tipped at the head with a divine flame. The brain only continues the spine: the wick really goes through the whole length of the candle. If we are not capable of enjoying that shiver, if we cannot enjoy literature, then let us give up the whole thing and concentrate on our comics, our videos, our books-of-the-week.

One thought on “Reading for Delight

  1. HI Tony

    I’m a Christian living in London. Been saved since 2004. I trained as an actor, prior to conversion, but the arts and literature still are apart of my life.

    I remember your podcast with John Frame, “How come unbelievers know so much about life/truth?”

    Your book, “Lit”, has guided me, and helped me to read, read, read. And to not let books become idols.

    I know you are cultured, and love English Lit. Perhaps an Anglophile? So, here is a film about books. I watched it as a teen, but now as a Christian, (I’m 35 yr old), I can appreciate it better. The synopsis is as follows:

    84 Charing Cross Road

    A story about love and the love of books, 84 Charing Cross Road features Academy Award(r) winners Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins in stellar performances. Helen Hanff (Bancroft), a feisty New York writer, mails a letter to a small London bookshop requesting some rare English classics. Frank Doel (Hopkins), the reserved English bookseller, answers her request, beginning a touching and humorous correspondence that spans two continents and two decades. Hanff’s aloof British demeanor, but their mutual love of books forms a bond that deepens with each passing year. Their intimate, richly detailed letters draw us into their lives as Helen and Frank share theirdreams, hopes, sorrows and joys – and, in doing so, develop a lasting and extraordinary friendship.

    Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) and Frank Doel (Anthony Hopkins) are lifelong friends who never meet in 84 Charing Cross Road, a unique comedy-drama based on a true story. Hanff and Doel are separated by 3,000 miles of ocean and joined by a passion for old books. Their relationship begins when New- Yorker Hanff orders a copy of Pepys’ diary. Doel, as polite and soft-spoken as Hanff is loud and overbearing, fields the request from the titular book shop in London. For the next two decades they correspond without ever actually sitting down for tea and crumpets.

    The film is also based on the book by Helen Hanff, 84 Charing Cross Road (VMC) Paperback.

    Oh by the way, the following films are also stimulating:

    The Remains Of The Day [DVD] by Kazuo Ishiguro (A book and a film)

    Shadowlands [DVD], a bio about CS Lewis, and his Marriage to Joy Gresham

    The writing and acting is beautiful, and powerful.

    May GOD bless you and Dr John Piper,

    Your APJ Podcast has been a blessing to me.

    And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

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