11 Mar 2014

All writing is autobiography. My blog, I discovered today, comprises almost 300,000 written words of autobiography, a meandering through my library. There are sufficient words for three good-sized books. There are more words than make up Middlemarch, which I’m reading, and at that familiar stage when I don’t want a book to end. This is not to draw any comparisons between Middlemarch–or any other novel–than my unedited stream of consciousness. I write this blog in order to retain more of what I read, and to participate in a conversation about literature. It surprises me that so many of my blog’s readers live in the U.S., more than double the number from U.K. I read mostly European novels, few American ones. I never expected to write so much on my blog, to be writing here for over nine years. The novel I’d like to write is spread over seven notebooks and will probably never come together into a single form. I am firstly a reader, living my life through living so many lives in addition to my own. As Paul Valéry observed, “If each man were not able to live a number of lives beside his own, he would not be able to live his own.”

8 thoughts on “287,644

  1. Currently reading Dorothy Richardson vol 2 thanks to you. Best description of working in a dentists’ practice ever.Weaving the autobiographical & the fictional. Every word surprising


  2. Hello. Good evening. It is a joy to discover your blog most recently. It has become my literary sanctuary, the one to which I always like to retreat to when I’m travelling into the city. So, I am glad to be among the small representation of your readers from UK. Your blog is an excellent example of how personal and critical reviews of good books can rescue the readers from the world of mundane and normality and everyday (after all, the primary purpose of literature is to elevate the readers). I like the fact that you like reading and reviewing about books by lesser known writers.

    I have read ‘Middlemarch’ a couple of years ago and it is one of those books that is so perfect that you feel dazzled by the writer’s wealth of knowledge in the way she combines moral and social universe (I’m paraphrasing Kant here: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we reflect upon them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”). I think that’s what it gives a timeless quality. Alas, I have tried reading her historical novel, ‘Romola’ (1862–63) which she spent a great deal of time in Italy doing the research and somehow, I never managed to succeed further than the first two chapters. I ought to try it again with a hortatory zeal if I might stay lie awake long enough to hold a book. I wish you a continuous success with your fantastic blog.


    • Thank you so much for your exceptionally generous words. I am so pleased that you read and enjoy my blog.

      I don’t deliberately seek out lesser known writers, much of the time I wouldn’t think to describe them thus. My reading threads from one writer to another following an invisible, but, to me, almost logical thread.


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