Thursday, 1 December 2016

WRITERS ON WRITING #86: Virginia Woolf

The only advice… that one person can give another about reading is to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions… After all, what laws can be laid down about books?  The battle of Waterloo was certainly fought on a certain day; but is Hamlet a better play than Lear?  Nobody can say.  Each must decide that question for himself.  To admit authorities, however heavily furred and gowned, into our libraries and let them tell us how to read, what to read, what value to place upon what we read, is to destroy the spirit of freedom which is the breath of those sanctuaries.  Everywhere else we may be bound by laws and conventions — there we have none…
   Perhaps the quickest way to understand the elements of what a novelist is doing is not to read, but to write; to make your own experiment with the dangers and difficulties with words.

How Should One Read A Book? (1925)

Click HERE to read the full VIRGINIA WOOLF post on the excellent website Brain Pickings founded and maintained by MARIA POPOVA.

You might also enjoy:
WRITERS ON WRITING #76: Doris Grumbach
WRITERS ON WRITING #34: Dawn Powell 
WRITERS ON WRITING #26: Gina Berriault 

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