mercredi 25 janvier 2012

Reading by Candlelight

"Reading without electricity in a recent power cut actually turned out to add some juice to reading"

" [...] when the lights flickered and then failed this week, we were well prepared. [...] As dusk fell, just after three, I lit the candles in the front room and settled back down to read.

There were several superficial ways in which it was different from reading normally. For one thing, I didn't end a paragraph and think it would be a good time to check my email. For another, I was always aware that if I moved too carelessly the book and the candle would meet in an intense but short-lived mutual understanding. The phone didn't ring. The ambient hum of freezer and television was stilled. There was no distraction whatsoever. It had a curious and lovely intensity. I had to re-read sentences as the light played, and pause to angle the book and catch the shifting shine. The words themselves seemed less fixed and self-evident, as if you could read the same sentence countless different ways just by tipping the book forwards and back.

It struck me that this was how people had read for almost all of the time that people have been reading: in darkness, slowly, concentrating, and more sensitive to the subtle interplay between what was on the page and what appeared to be on the page. In a sense, this was reading normally; reading with ample, white light was the exception."

Kelly, Stuart (2012): "The illuminations of reading by candlelight", The Guardian Books Blog, January 6, 2012. (

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