Favorite Reads of 2015: #7 Reading / Writing Julien Gracq

Have a look at all of my favorite reads of 2015.

I’m not sure how to classify Reading / Writing Julien Gracq. You could call this a book of sixteen essays on literary subjects, which doesn’t tell you very much but may be the may you can say for sure.

These essays are composed of fragmentary chunks of thought that Gracq collects under subjects like “Literature and Painting,” “Landscape and the Novel,” and “Literature and History,” and he freely draws from all forms of artistic endeavor. There may be some sort of clear progression through and/or among the fragments that make up each essay, but that logic is very obscure. I didn’t really care, as Grazq’s intelligence is compelling on almost always a sentence-by-sentence level, and most definitely on a paragraph-by-paragraph level. You can just read the book for these insights alone and not even try to find a larger argument to each of the essays, or to the book as a whole.

True to the title, what Gracq considers most profoundly here are the experiences and aesthetics of reading and writing. His capacity to keep making fresh insights on these two subjects page after page (the book is some 400 pages long), and to not descend into repetition or the banal, is remarkable. If you care about either of these two topics, you should read this book.

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