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Naming Games

Reading Alberto Manguel's introduction in Into the Looking-Glass Wood I am struck by how many times I have read over the same texts but experienced differing levels of meaning, of immersion, of revelation. Manguel points out that re-reading Lewis Carroll never fails to produce such new readings, and that much of this centers on our shifting perception of the naming games in the narrative. We read them first as nonsense to entertain children, but later, as they continue to nag at us, they eventually reveal something like the underlying metaphysics (or so it might be said) of language itself. 

There is a wonderful essay called Borges in Love in the book too.  I am not a Borges scholar, but I may grow to be one before I die.  Whenever I brush paths with him I am touched, changed, saddened, strengthened, blessed with a new vision. I regret not having seen that great man while he lived.

But to return to the naming, perhaps the difference between dull writing and inspired writing is that the former uses names that are worn, spoiled, squandered, and the latter raises the names from a host of perceptions deep in the reader, names that thus come to live in the reader without having been spoken directly in the text-- such are the private names that please each reader best.

I was not encouraged by the title of a book I saw recently which proclaimed with wild reduction: Hildegard in a Nutshell.   It contained few things (by definition)... of interest.
Cydonia photo: ESA

This is the journal of David Ross
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