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Gettysburg Review
Gettysburg College | 300 N. Washington Street | Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

“States of Reading”

by Sven Birkerts

In the opening pages of his coy and crafty novel, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, Italo Calvino performs what for any true reader has to feel like a striptease. Or maybe the beginning overtures of what will turn into a full-out seduction. In any event there is a sense of excited approach, an almost titillating enumeration of the stages by which a reader gets ready to engage a book. “Adjust the light so you won’t strain your eyes,” he croons. “Do it now, because once you’re absorbed in reading there will be no budging you.”

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