An Actual Reading Machine

Here’s a fun passage to pocket, especially if you ever are teaching or working on the reading sections of PI.  The passage is from Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son.  Gosse talks of his being asked (forced?) as a child to read aloud to his parents from books he could not or did not understand.

…[I read books]…over which my eye and tongue leaned to slip without penetrating, so that I would read, and read aloud, and with great propriety of emphasis, page after page without having formed an idea or retained an expression.  There was, for instance, a writer on prophecy called Jukes, of whose works each of my parents was inordinately fond, and I was eagerly set to read Jukes aloud to them.  I did it glibly, like a machine, but the sight of Juke’s volumes became an abomination to me, and I never formed the outline of a notion of what they were about.


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