At not only sight and perception, but

At first it seems obvious that in order to have a reader, there must have been a writer.

It has been argued that reading existed long before text became a form of communication; illiterate societies read and understood the world around them, the emotions of others reading existed in many forms. Our earliest records of writers date from 4000BC, and although very simplistic, their tools of writing and reading remain the same today – letters and the eyes. The eyes are “the world’s point of entry”2.Reading does not simply refer to the act of apprehending letters, but to a process that involves not only sight and perception, but inference, judgement, memory, recognition, knowledge, experience and practice.

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3 When the first scribe scratched and uttered the first letters the human body was already capable of the acts of reading and writing, suggesting that we are capable of reading before we can actually read4. Writing began as a form of communication and recording information, and developed into its many forms now.Similarly, our purposes for reading have greatly changed over time; Roland Barthes proposed a distinction between two types of reader – the reader with an ulterior motive (learning, criticising) and the reader for whom the text justifies its existence in the act of reading itself (pleasure).

5 As Daniel Pennac describes; “the imagination swells, the nerves vibrate, the heart gets carried away, the adrenaline pumps, identification occurs all over the place, and the brain mistakes (momentarily) the splutters of the everyday for the beacons of fiction.Such is the state we all find ourselves in initially as readers”6 As literacy became increasingly prevalent, the form of the text had to keep up with the demand, and so printing and mass distribution were developed, from Guttenberg’s printing techniques of the 15th Century, to the mass production of great literary works by Penguin at a low cost of 1935. 7 So texts were preserved to be enjoyed and studied by later readers. When reading a text, much weight has now been placed on considering the text’s original meaning for readers of its time.

The relationship between the author and his contemporary readers differs from that with later readers, who have very different experiences and understandings. Derrida says any written text is “readable even if the moment of its production is irrevocably lost and even if I don’t know what its alleged author consciously intended to say at the moment of writing it”8. One of the most complicated aspects of reading and writing is the idea that every reading is interpreted differently and individually. The writer uses words that fulfill his own ideas and depict to him the images to be conveyed.The author who wishes to preserve and impose a meaning must also be the reader9. A writer can construct a text in any number of ways, choosing from the common stock of words those which seem to express the message best.

But the reader receiving this text is not confined to any one interpretation. 10 Although restricted by language rules – grammar, text etc, readings are not strictly dictated by the script itself or therefore by the author. 11. Reading..

. is a bewildering, labyrinthine, common and yet personal process of reconstruction12The reader has an intimate and deeply intricate relationship with the writer, without whom the text, the imagery, the ideas, the experience of reading could not occur. Yet the writer has true dependence on the reader, to understand and create meaning for the text, through interpretation. The invention of the written word with all its messages, its laws, its lists, its literature, depends on the reader’s ability to restore the text, to read it, or it is lost irretrievably. Wilbur explored the tragedy that befalls a civilisation when it loses its readers in his poem To the Etruscan PoetsYou strove to leave some line of verse behind// Like a fresh track across a field of snow, Not reckoning that all could melt and go.

13.BIBLIOGRAPHY Manguel, Alberto, A History of Reading, Bath: The Bath Press, 1997. Pennac, Daniel, Reads Like A Novel, trans.

Daniel Gunn, Great Britain: Quartet Books Limited, 1994. Walter, George, ‘The History of Reading in the West’. University of Sussex, Brighton, 5th October, 2004 1 Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p. 28 2 Saint Augstine, Confessions, (Paris, 1935-6) cited in Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p.28 3 Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p. 34 4 Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p. 35 5 Roland Barthes, “i?? crivain and i?? crivants”, in Essais critiques, (Paris, 1971), cited in Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p. 184 6 Daniel Pennac, “The Right to ‘bovarysme’ (a textually transmissible disease)”, Reads Like A Novel, trans.

Daniel Gunn, (Great Britain: Quartet Books Limited, 1994) p. 165 7 George Walter, ‘The History of Reading in the West’. University of Sussex, Brighton, 5th October, 2004.8 Jacques Derrida, De la grammatologie, (Paris, 1976), cited in Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), pp. 183-4 9 Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p. 184 10 Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p.

183 11 Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p. 36 12 Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p. 39 13 Richard Wilbur, “To the Etruscan Poets”, in The Mind Reader (New York, 1988), cited in Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, (Bath: The Bath Press, 1997), p. 185.

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