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Re: [mythsoc] reading aloud (was A Tale of Two Professors)

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  • David Bratman
    ... Mostly the latter. That s why it s reading, not listening, that makes poetry. And if you are listening, the poet is not necessarily the best reader of
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 2, 2004
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      At 09:12 AM 12/2/2004 -0500, Lizzie wrote:

      >You mean, reading it aloud oneself? In that case, is one reading to hear
      >one's voice speak the poem, or reading to feel the taste of the language on
      >one's tongue?

      Mostly the latter. That's why it's reading, not listening, that makes
      poetry. And if you are listening, the poet is not necessarily the best
      reader of his work, any more than the composer is necessarily the best
      conductor: they're different talents.


      >To read silently as if one were reading aloud is, for me, just the matter
      >of reading a bit more slowly, and listening to the words drop through my
      >head. It is easier than reading aloud, in that it is not hindered by one's
      >vocal qualities (or lack thereof). It is a little like envisioning a thing
      >you want to draw -- which is not so difficult until one picks up the pencil.

      I don't think that reading silently slowly is the same as reading aloud, at
      least not for me or, I think, for most people. It's hard to keep from
      speeding up, and silent reading doesn't convey the sense of vocalization.
      Even subvocalization isn't the same thing as reading aloud. I once had to
      time a playscript - how long would it take to perform? I timed it by
      mumbling it to myself while riding in an airplane. (This was before 9/11:
      today, I'd probably be suspected of being a terrorist praying the Koran,
      something which actually happened to me in an airport boarding area when my
      physical position - lying on the carpet because all the seats were taken -
      was deemed suspicious.) Anyway, I thought I was making an accurate timing,
      but later was informed to my horror that the actual reading aloud of the
      play took twice as long as my subvocalized rendition did.


      >I objected a lot to the idea of LOTR dramatized, but I think Jackson did a
      >great job.

      I am sorry to have to say this, but anyone who thinks that Jackson's films
      are a good _dramatization of LOTR_ (apart from any other qualities they may
      have) doesn't know LOTR very well at all.


      >I am also enough of a capitalist to appreciate, if with irony,
      >the level of art created for the movie and then marketed with apparent
      >success.

      That's a different matter. I am in awe, I take off my hat to Jackson's
      ability to organize and pull off this enormous logistical accomplishment.
      More experienced directors than he have fallen flat on their faces on big
      projects far smaller than this one. I have _Lost in La Mancha_ rented from
      the video store right now: the story of Terry Gilliam's disastrous attempt
      to film Don Quixote. And then Jackson made a 10-hour epic that was, judged
      entirely on its own, fairly entertaining! Not entirely boring! That too
      is unprecedented.

      But none of it has anything whatever to do with Tolkien.


      >What is the essence of Shakespeare? Shakespeare is just some guy who
      >rewrote a lot of things in a way that works really well for the public, or
      >some such thing. How much of his work is truly original? Maybe some of
      >the sonnets?

      As you say, Shakespeare's plots are rarely original. Therefore his
      originality, and his greatness, lie in the way he told those stories. And
      the form he chose to tell them in was drama. That is the essence, or at
      least part of the essence, of Shakespeare.


      >> Ontologically, a score
      >> is not music at all: it's instructions for performing music. The music
      >> does not exist until it is performed. Something similar could be said of
      >> a playscript.
      >>
      >Or DNA, I suppose?

      Yes, precisely.


      >If we are made up of lots of things that are made up of things, at how many
      >levels do you think there is sentience? And we are part of things that
      >make up things.

      The secret lies in the complexity. Literature is made of 26 letters in two
      cases with a few punctuation marks, nothing more. Where lies greatness?
      In the complexity with which those letters are arranged. Same with life.
      This was demonstrated by the guys who wrote simple computer programs that
      generated fascinatingly complex screen designs.

      David Bratman
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