The Experience of Reading

Synopsis

What really goes on inside human beings when they read serious books? InThe Experience of Reading, Philip Davis sets out to show that books matter most on a personal level. He gives a close account of the experience of thought and feeling that goes on inside a serious reader in the act of reading. He argues that reading is one of our few remaining forms of personal meditation. Davis's theory stems from a belief that reading offers much more than a mere escape into fantasy. As a professional teacher with a strong interest in a wider access to universities, Davis seeks to involve academics outside, as well as inside, the university framework, by using the modern novel as a means of linking the modern reader to other minds in other ages through an act of imaginative time travel. He links the modern reader to post-war novelists Malamud, Bellow, Lessing, and Middleton, yet his aim is far wider. Davis uses the modern novel as a starting-point in a search for a way ofbeing that takes in writers as diverse as Ben Jonson, Bunyan, Byron, Wordsworth, and George Eliot.