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By John Sutherland

This "little history” takes on a really sizeable topic: the fantastic span of literature from Greek fable to image novels, from The Epic of Gilgamesh to Harry Potter. John Sutherland is ideally fitted to the duty. He has researched, taught, and written on almost each zone of literature, and his infectious ardour for books and studying has outlined his personal lifestyles. Now he publications younger readers and the grown-ups of their lives on an interesting trip "through the wardrobe” to a better wisdom of ways literature from the world over can shipping us and support us to make experience of what it capability to be human.

Sutherland introduces nice classics in his personal impossible to resist manner, enlivening his choices with humor in addition to studying: Beowulf, Shakespeare, Don Quixote, the Romantics, Dickens, Moby Dick, The Waste Land, Woolf, 1984, and dozens of others. He provides to those a less-expected, own number of authors and works, together with literature often thought of good under "serious attention"—from the impolite jests of Anglo-Saxon runes to The Da Vinci Code. With masterful digressions into quite a few themes—censorship, narrative methods, self-publishing, style, creativity, and madness—Sutherland demonstrates the whole intensity and intrigue of studying. For more youthful readers, he deals a formal creation to literature, promising to curiosity up to show. For more matured readers, he can provide simply a similar.

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Glissée dans l’Encyclopédie d’histoire naturelle du docteur Chenu, une tige de « pariétaire profonde », pour marquer la page consacrée au vol des étourneaux. Dans la marge, d’une écriture tendue : « Le plagiat est nécessaire. » 4. Sur feuillet de vélin, recopiés à la main, ces mots, citation d’un poète inconnu : « C’est un homme ou une pierre ou un arbre qui va commencer le quatrième chant. » 5. Au bas d’un bristol, finement gravée, cette épitaphe : « Je cherche l’or du temps. » 6. Sur papier rose, précieusement imprimé, cet appel : « Artine !

L’art donne figure, y compris dans l’informel. 993 - Couleur : Black sans analogue, qu’elle porte à une voix issue du fond, du sommet, de partout, de nulle part, perçue néanmoins dans l’ici le plus instant, est vécue comme un saisissement. Une dimension des choses se rend présente, une hauteur, une profondeur, comme un axe qui les traverse et dont la direction ne correspond à celle d’aucune autre approche. Un mode absolument singulier de présence au monde, lequel est moins rejoint, abordé, qu’il ne se découvre de lui-même, ne se remet au poète dans une sorte de nouveauté violente, inaperçue.

S’il y a quelque raison d’agir, il faut la dire le moins littérairement qu’il se peut. Il est clair que l’écrivain authentique, qui n’écrivit pas pour de piètres ou d’inavouables raisons, ne peut, sans tomber dans la platitude, faire de son œuvre une contribution aux desseins de la société utile. Dans la mesure même où elle servirait, cette œuvre ne saurait avoir de vérité souveraine. Elle irait dans le sens d’une soumission résignée, qui ne toucherait pas seulement la vie d’un homme entre autres, ou d’un grand nombre, mais ce qui est humainement souverain.

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