(The following essay is adapted from a public lecture I delivered at the University of Chichester in Sussex earlier this year.) Read more

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We read, as the 17th century English poet John Dryden told us, “for instruction and delight”. We read, as the Victorian novelist George Eliot said, because “art is the nearest thing to life”. What that means, the critic Louis Bayard explains, is that “to approach the mystery of our own condition, we have to grasp the mystery by which words make worlds”. Read more

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