Notes on Reading

All good reading is re-reading.

–something I used to say to my freshman composition classes

when I was an adjunct with CUNY at several colleges


I am preparing a return to a nearly long delayed re-read of Sterne’s Tristram Shandy. That is my current narrative prose fiction. I am also planning a return trek through Montaigne’s Essays, one I had started as soon as I picked up a copy of the complete Montaigne, the Everyman edition . . . not that long ago, but I do forget how long ago it was . . . and I do recall that I had already bought a copy of an edition of selected essays by Montaigne, translated by Florio . . . that John Florio from the 16th century, which would have made it the edition Shakespeare had read . . . and there is evidence from the plays that Shake most likely read Montaigne . . . I cannot recollect if this was actually last year, the buying of the Florio translation . . . was it last summer and not this past spring, as I imagine the day when I bought it at Community Books in Park Slope, sunny and warm . . . that could have been October, around my birthday, which seems pretty much what I might have done . . . buy the Florio translation there for my birthday, a gift from me to me . . . so my narrative prose for now will be Sterne and Tristram and my expository prose will be Montaigne as my drama will be a re-read of one of the plays I picked up at the strand in old copies of the Yale series . . . I have been reading as I was reading toady, from Leopardi’s Canti . . . a bilingual edition published by FSG, translated by Jonathan Galassi . . . the poetry I presume I will be currently reading . . . I do have to get at Ashbery’s translation of Rimbaud’s Illuminations . . . the year is nearly two thirds past . . . those copies of Yale Shakespeare I love . . . those small hardcover editions . . . the art book I should be reading . . . continuing to read is the book entitled The Nude . . . Kenneth Clark? Yes, a study in ideal form . . .


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