02 September 2005

The Problem Is That I Read Too Fast

Can you guess which two volume work is referred to by the following?

Wittgenstein once wrote, "Sometimes a sentence can be understood only if it is read at the right tempo. My sentences are all supposed to be read slowly". Similarly, to benefit from reading these volumes you need to read slowly. Read quickly, they can seem a superficial, repetitious, somewhat incoherent collection of allusions to halfway developed ideas -- or, worse yet, a sham version of a style Wittgenstein perfected in his later thought, but which it is well-nigh impossible to imitate with any authenticity.
Answer here.

But of course it's one thing to say that sentences won't be understandable if they are read quickly. It's another to say that they will appear to be superficial, repetitious, and half-baked sham imitations.


Anonymous said...

Interesting thought.

Wittgenstein's quote reminds me of something Carl van Doren once wrote with regard to reading: "The art of reading is among other things the art of adopting the pace the author has set. Some books are fast and some are slow, but no book can be understood if it is taken at the wrong speed."