Print

Print


On Sep 24, 2011, at 12◊55 AM, Logan Kearsley wrote:

> What surprises me is that there was a guy reading aloud! I was talking
> to... somebody, I think it was an editor... at WorldCon about how a
> lot of the stylistic differences between modern fiction and 1800's are
> due to the fact that 19th century novels and earlier were intended to
> be read aloud as entertainment, whereas now we have TV and nobody
> reads aloud anymore (so if someone is going to be reading aloud in the
> lunchroom, I suppose it's only appropriate that the material was a
> 19th century novel). 'Tis rather a rare skill; most people seem to
> read *very* slowly when vocalizing, and it's really rare to get
> someone who can do character voices distinctively.

That's funny. I'm kind of in a bind, and have to finish a very long book by October 1st, and in order to read it *faster*, I asked my wife if I could read it aloud to her—and it worked. When I read silently, I find myself stopping to think about other things (related, usually [like etymologies]) every few sentences. If you're reading aloud (especially to someone else), you're not allowed to do such things—after all, you have a duty to your audience (even if they're not there voluntarily)!

I think the whole "reading aloud" expectation thing went out with the early moderns (or maybe Henry James). It's funny, Conrad has a note he appended to Lord Jim sixteen years after it was written. The text of the book, much of which is supposed to be told aloud by Marlow to a captive audience, was deemed to be unrealistic by reviewers who contended that a person was physically incapable of speaking for that long. Conrad took issue with this, claiming that Marlow's part of the story could be read aloud in under three hours. You can read the comment (and the book!) below:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/5658/5658-h/5658-h.htm

David Peterson
LCS President
[log in to unmask]
www.conlang.org