Playing by the Book

  • Hayden Ramsay

Abstract

If questioned about their leisure activities today, many would cite as their main choice watching TV or reading. Despite decades of egalitarian talk and theory, these still indicate a social division: whether or not they are frequent readers, most would consider reading to be respectable use of leisure time and TV watching to be very slightly shameful. Leisure TV seems to identify people as having ordinary interests, being unimaginative, even uncultured. This perception is interesting. People lament growing illiteracy, but still reading has not become tarnished or downgraded in the public eye; and certainly, the mass production and retail of books is one of the great commercial success stories of the twentieth century. Most people still value reading as an ability. It remains a key to social status as well as a central leisure activity — and big business.

Keywords

Burning Coherence Defend Lost Verse 

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Notes

  1. 3.
    See Martyn Lyons ‘New Readers in the Nineteenth Century’ in Guglielmo Cavallo and Roger Chartier (eds) A History of Reading in the West (Cambridge: Polity, 1999).Google Scholar
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    See, eg., Timothy Chappell Understanding Human Goods (Oxford: Edinburgh University Press, 1998), Ch. 4.Google Scholar
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    See, for example, Hildred Redfern Questions in Aesthetic Education (London: Allen and Unwin, 1986).Google Scholar
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    Alberto Manguel A History of Reading (London: HarperCollins, 1996), p. 189.Google Scholar
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    Timothy Radcliffe ‘Tradition and Creativity: the Paradigm of the New Testament’, New Blackfriars 70, 1989, p. 59.Google Scholar
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    See Raimond Gaita ‘Truth As A Need of the Soul’ in A Common Humanity: thinking about love and truth and justice (Melbourne: Text, 1999).Google Scholar
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    An excellent contribution here is Hubert Dreyfus On the Internet (London: Routledge, 2001) who argues powerfully that increasing exposure to the Net means losing our sense of what is truly relevant, and so increasing our incapacity to identify what we need to know. Dreyfus also argues that the sense of invulnerability and of independence the Net gives disables our impulses towards risk-taking and apprenticeship and so undermines our capacity to learn.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Hayden Ramsay 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayden Ramsay

There are no affiliations available

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