Noli Me Tangere

All language, ever bidding.

I once took an undergraduate course in which each student was forced to assume the role of verbal prospector. We scanned 19th-century British texts, with heightened purpose, compelled to mark each appearance of a single word: power. Enlightened, we would join the instructor in claiming victory—however petty and lopsided.

Luckily, I’d long developed a high tolerance for this sort of adventurous, indecent, deliberate misreading. That in part stems from a solitary childhood where I delighted in classic stories. My little world—amplified with masterful writing, broadly ranging, including Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, The Swiss Family Robinson, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Kidnapped, White Fang, Gulliver’s Travels, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The War of the Worlds, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Last of the Mohicans, The Scarlet Letter, The Call of the Wild, Robinson Crusoe, A Tale of Two Cities, Around the World in Eighty Days, “The Cask of Amontillado.”

Why read?

“Properly, we should read for power. Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hand.” (Ezra Pound)

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