Richard Deming, Listening on All Sides: Toward an Emersonian Ethics of Reading [Book Review]


Reading a book for a review is not the same as reading for pleasure or research. The voice of the ‘critic’—or the critic one would like to be—muffles the voice of the text. Reviewing a book on reading, written by a writer, is as disconcerting as speaking with an old high school English teacher. I take courage from Emerson. In “The Poet,” an essay to which Richard Deming often returns, Emerson offers: Doubt not, O poet, but persist. Say, “It is in me, and shall out.” Stand there, baulked and dumb, stuttering and stammering, hissed and hooted, stand and strive, until, at last, rage draw out of thee that dream-power which every night shows thee is thine own; a power...

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