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Vivian Gornick unlocks the pleasures of re-reading

In the legendary critic's rendering, re-reading isn’t just a portal to consolidation but exposes the emotional distortions that accrue through repetition

By Alice Blackhurst  

To say that I spent lockdown mostly re-reading would be an appealing lie. As much as I indulged the fantasy of using quarantine to re-acquaint myself with classic novels, most of them stood mutely by my bed, functioning as makeshift coffee coasters as I panic-scrolled through social media, or devoured other people’s “pandemic journals.”  Though the latter came to blur into one, sourdough-flavoured unit, reading them seemed preferable to reaching back to Camus, Flaubert, or Defoe. The present moment offered more than enough stimulation. Escaping into other timeframes held not only…

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