Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"The Illusion of Being Addressed by a Human Being"

More than with any other form of art, the relationships we have with novels are apt to approach the kind we have with people. For a long time, novels were typically named after people (Tom Jones, Emma, Jane Eyre), but that is not the crux of it. What makes our experience of novels so personal is not that they have protagonists, but that they have narrators. Paintings and photographs don’t, and neither, with rare (and usually unfortunate) exception, do movies or plays. Novels bring another subjectivity before us; they give us the illusion of being addressed by a human being. (William Deresiewicz, "How the Novel Made the Modern World," Atlantic 2014-06)

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