"Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bullshit in order to be comfortable?"
Pulp Fiction (1994) dir. Quentin Tarantino
"It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane."
Infinite Buster Keatons.
The Penitent Magdalen, oil on canvas, detail (1640)
Georges de La Tour
"While reading skills are taught and trained, there is occasionally a misconception that understanding of texts, whether oral, written, visual or multimodal, comes naturally and does not need further attention. […] Literature uses language to communicate, and language consists of conventional semiotic signs, based on an agreement between the bearers of a particular language and culture. For anyone outside the given community, conventional signs do not carry any meaning, or at best the meaning is ambivalent. As a consequence, before we can understand a work of literature, we need to be trained in a number of conventions. On the most basic level, we must know how to read, how to make sense of letters, words and sentences - what is normally referred to as literacy. Fiction is, however, more complex than, for instance, everyday language, since it also involves figurative speech and other features and artistic devices which need special knowledge to be understood. […] the language of fiction - in a broad sense, including many layers of artistic conventions - demands a knowledge of and training in certain codes."
"Literacy, competence and meaning-making: a human sciences approach" (June 2010, Cambridge Journal of Education
), Maria Nikolajeva. (via the-library-and-step-on-it
A Venetian Canal - Henri-Edmond Cross
wouldn’t want you? Whose most demonic appetite
could you possibly fail to answer?"
Земля | 1930 | Alexander Dovzhenko | USSR
“Sometimes, sitting at a film or drama critic’s voting meeting, I feel surrounded by creatures from the black lagoon or from twenty thousand leagues beneath the sea. We don’t speak the same language. A great Russian film meant nothing to them, whereas a cheap American shoot-’em-up or cowboy movie is a masterpiece. They look at me as if I were some sort of strange comic monster; I look at them and think, What do I have in common with these people? Why am I sitting here? I think press agents would be much nicer to sit with. They know much more about what we’re talking about. Perhaps even cabdrivers do.” —John Simon
Illustration: Tony Walton.
(Detail) Ajax and Cassandra, Solomon Joseph Solomon,1886.