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One of the superpowers most of us have but often take for granted is reading. How amazing that attending to tiny marks on a page or on a screen can plug someone else’s mind into our own, so that the thoughts and imagination of the writer, even one long-dead, can play in our brains.
Prof. Jenkins also writes about the book’s depiction of reading, as Simplicissimus discovers what a miracle it is and then learns to read himself. His reaction must have been similar to that of other peasants when they learned to read the Bible for the first time.
Quotation - Book - Comments - Prof - Jenkins
Here is a quotation from the book with comments by Prof. Jenkins:
Now when first I saw the hermit read the Bible, I could not conceive with whom he should speak so secretly and, as I thought, so earnestly; for well I saw the moving of his lips, yet no man that spake with him: and though I knew naught of reading or writing, nevertheless I marked by his eyes that he had to do with somewhat in the said book.
Assay - Lit - Chapter - Job - Picture
So I marked where he kept it, and when he had laid it aside I crept thither and opened it, and at the first assay lit upon the first chapter of Job and the picture that stood at the head thereof, which was a fine woodcut and fairly painted: so I began to ask strange questions of the figures, and when they gave me no answer I waxed impatient.
Believing the figures in the illustrated Bible are real people, he speaks to them, and he complains that they don’t speak to him the way they speak to the hermit. He is also worried that the soldiers in the illustration are about to stage a raid, to cause trouble and start a fire. The hermit...
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