By Dale Salwak (eds.)
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Additional info for A Passion for Books
12 Joseph Epstein could as easily have been outside playing the game, I preferred at that moment to continue reading about it. A bookworm, clearly, was in the making. Still, the hook took a while to sink in. I read scarcely at all in high school, and then mainly books about the slums. The Amboy Dukes by Irving Schulman, a novel about a bunch of thuggish kids in Brooklyn, was a much thumbed book in my high school. In print - in actual print in those happily prudish times - it used the word 'jugs' to refer to a girl's breasts.
All these answers, though a mite platitudinous, are nevertheless correct. I have the advantage over them of at least making a living off all my reading. But does all their reading come together, does it add u p to something at least philosophically if not commercially useful? Is there, in the impatient phrase of the day, a bottom line? Here, in searching for an answer, they stumble. I'm sure I couldn't have answered it myself at twenty or twenty-one, but I should like to attempt to do so now. ' This point of view, which is taught not by any specific book or author, or even set of authors, teaches a worldly-wise skepticism, which comes through first in a distrust of general ideas.
Key concepts in some of the plays don't mean so much to us, the divine anointment of kings, for example. To enter into Richard II properly, we will need to make an effort of the imagination. If we don't manage it, if the whole premise of the play thereby comes to seem baffling or a little silly, then I would prefer to say that we had not got the hang of the play, rather than that we were reading it 'differently'. A translation or a stage production of Chekhov that blurs the irony or exaggerates the sentimentality is simply mistaken; so is an excessively religiose interpretation of Kafka.