Alberto Manguel

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Alberto Manguel
Every text assumes a reader.

Alberto Manguel (born 1948 in Buenos Aires) is a Canadian Argentine-born writer, translator, and editor. In 1982 Manguel moved to Toronto, Canada and lived there (with a brief European period) until 2000. He has been a Canadian citizen ever since.

Sourced[edit]

A History of Reading (1996)[edit]

  • I had done this all by myself. No one had performed the magic for me. I and the shapes were alone together, revealing themselves in a silently respectful dialogue. Since I could bare lines into living reality, I was all powerful. I could read.
    • The Last Page, p. 6.
  • We read to understand, or to begin to understand. We cannot do but to read. Reading almost as much as breathing, is our essential function.
    • The Last Page, p. 7.
  • A society can exist - many do exist - without writing, but no society can exist without reading.
    • The Last Page, p. 7.
  • "reading is at the beginning of the social contract"
    • The Last Page, p. 7.
  • I never talked to anyone about my reading; the need to share came afterwords.
    • The Last Page, p. 11.
  • A book brings its own history to the reader.
    • The Last Page, p. 16.
  • I quickly learned that reading is cumulative and proceeds by geometric progression: each new reading builds upon whatever the reader has read before.
    • The Last Page, p. 19
Ambrose of Milan
Augustine's description of Ambrose's silent reading (including the remark that he never read aloud) is the first definite instance recorded in Western literature.
  • Nothing moves except my eyes and my hand occasionally turning a page, and yet something not exactly defined by the word "text" unfurls, progresses, grows and takes root as I read. But how does this process take place?
    • Reading Shadows, p. 28.
  • Augustine's description of Ambrose's silent reading (including the remark that he never read aloud) is the first definite instance recorded in Western literature.
    • The Silent Readers, p. 43.
  • The American psychologist Julian Jaynes, in a controversial study on the origin of consciousness, argued that the bicameral mind - in which one of the hemispheres becomes specialized in silent reading - is a late development in humankind's evolution, and that the process by which this function develops is still changing.
    • The Silent Readers, p. 46.
  • In every literate society, learning to read is something of an initiation, a ritualized passage out of a state of dependency and rudimentary communication.
    • Learning To Read, p. 71.
  • Socrates affirmed that only that which the reader already knows can be sparked by a reading, and that the knowledge cannot be acquired through dead letters.
    • The Missing First Page, p. 86.
  • Something about the possession of a book - an object that can contain infinite fables, words of wisdom, chronicles of times gone by, humorous anecdotes and divine revelation - endows the reader with the power of creating a story, and the listener with a sense of being present at the moment of creation.
    • Being Read To, p. 120.
  • At different times and in different places I have come to expect certain books to look a certain way, and, as in all fashions, these changing features fix a precise quality onto a book's definition. I judge a book by its cover; I judge a book by its shape.
    • The Shape of The Book, p. 125.
In our day, computer technology and the proliferation of books on CD-ROM have not affected - as far as statistics show - the production and sale of books in their old-fashioned codex form.
  • In our day, computer technology and the proliferation of books on CD-ROM have not affected - as far as statistics show - the production and sale of books in their old-fashioned codex form.
    • The Shape of The Book, p. 135.
  • Books read in a public library never have the same flavour as books read in the attic or the kitchen.
    • Private Reading, p. 152.
  • One can transform a place by reading in it.
    • Private Reading, p. 152.
  • To say that an author is a reader or a reader an author, to see a book as a human being or a human being a book, to describe the world as text or a text as the world, are ways of naming the readers craft.
    • Metaphors of Reading, p. 168.
  • From its very start, reading is writings apotheosis.
    • Beginnings, p. 179.
  • Every library is a library of preferences, and every chosen category implies an exclusion.
    • Ordainers of The Universe, p. 198.
  • Through ignorance, through faith, through intelligence, through trickery and cunning, through illumination, the reader rewrites the text with the same words of the original but under another heading, re-creating it, as it were, in the very act of bringing it into being.
    • Reading The Future, p. 211.
  • The association of books with their readers is unlike any other between objects and their users.
    • The Symbolic Reader, p. 214.
  • I know that something dies when i give up my books, and that my memory keeps going back to them with mournful nostalgia.
    • Stealing Books, p. 238.
  • Possessing these books has become all important to me, because I have become jealous of the past.
    • Stealing Books, p. 238.
  • The listeners who buy books after a reading multiply that reading; the author who realizes that he or she may be writing on a blank page but is at least not speaking to a blank wall may be encouraged by the experience, and write more.
    • The Author As Reader, p. 259.
  • It is in the translation that the innocence lost after the first reading is restored under another guise, since the reader is once again faced with a new text and its attendant mystery. That is the inescapable paradox of translation, and also its wealth.
    • The Translator As Reader, p. 273-274.
  • As we read a text in our own language, the text itself becomes a barrier.
    • The Translator As Reader, p. 276.
  • As centuries of dictators have known, an illiterate crowd is easiest to rule; since the craft of reading cannot be untaught once it has been acquired, the second-best recourse is to limit its scope.
    • Forbidden Reading, p. 281.
Gutenberg Bible
Possessing these books has become all important to me, because I have become jealous of the past.
  • Most readers, then and now, have at some time experienced the humiliation of being told that their occupation is reprehensible.
    • The Book Fool, p. 296.
  • Slothful, feeble, pretentious, pedantic, elitist - these are some of the epithets that eventually become associated with the absent minded scholar, the poor sighted reader, the book worm, the nerd.
    • The Book Fool, p. 296.
  • The shelves of books we haven't written, like those of books we haven't read, stretches out into the darkness of the universal library's farthest space. We are always at the beginning of the beginning of the letter A.
    • Endpaper Pages, p. 309.
  • Every text assumes a reader.
    • Endpaper Pages, p. 314.

External links[edit]

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