Tuesday, February 5, 2008

On reading

Doris Lessing's Nobel Prize acceptance speech:

"We are in a fragmenting culture, where our certainties of even a few decades ago are questioned and where it is common for young men and women, who have had years of education, to know nothing of the world, to have read nothing, knowing only some speciality or other...

Very recently, anyone even mildly educated would respect learning, education, and our great store of literature. Of course, we all know that when this happy state was with us, people would pretend to read, would pretend respect for learning. But it is on record that working men and women longed for books, and this is evidenced by the founding of working men's libraries and institutes, the colleges of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Reading, books, used to be part of a general education.

Older people, talking to young ones, must understand just how much of an education reading was, because the young ones know so much less. And if children cannot read, it is because they have not read.

We all know this sad story.

But we do not know the end of it.

We think of the old adage, 'Reading maketh a full man' - and forgetting about jokes to do with over-eating - reading makes a woman and a man full of information, of history, of all kinds of knowledge.

But we in the West are not the only people in the world. Not long ago a friend who had been in Zimbabwe told me about a village where people had not eaten for three days, but they were still talking about books and how to get them, about education..."

2 Comments:

Anonymous Narration said...

Very nice. She is a remarkable person.

There is much, much more to that speech, and could recommend anyone to read it.

Stories, and stories; our life and interpretation of stories.

Enjoy your weblog, so put it in my reader.

Best regards, from Basel.

03:33  
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