What reading does, ultimately, is keep alive the dangerous and exhilarating idea that life is not a sequence of lived moments, but a destiny.

— Sven Birkerts

The most relaxing Sven Birkerts quotes you will be delighted to read

Language is the soul’s ozone layer and we thin it at our peril.

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A book is solitude, privacy; it is a way of holding the self apart from the crush of the outer world.

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If anything has changed about my reading over the years, it is that I value the state a book puts me in more that I value the specific contents.

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Every place, once unique, itself, is strangely shot through with radiations from every other place. ‘There’ was then; ‘here’ is now.

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The books that matter to me...are those that galvanize something inside me. I read books to read myself.

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A poem is a construction of inner space. Language is to inner space as light is to material space.

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I read books to read myself.

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Poetry springs directly from our primal need and capacity for communication[Poetry] mobilizes such a concentration of devices, such an intensification of language via rhythm, syntax, image and metaphor. Reading it-the best of it-can create another, very different kind of perpetual present, an awareness that can be as ongoing in the soul as the stop-time of trauma.

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Reading, because we control it, is adaptable to our needs and rhythms.

We are free to indulge our subjective associative impulse; the term I coin for this is deep reading: the slow and meditative possession of a book. We don't just read the words, we dream our lives in their vicinity. The printed page becomes a kind of wrought-iron fence we crawl through, returning, once we have wandered, to the very place we started.

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To achieve deep focus nowadays is also to have struck a blow against the dissipation of self; it is to have strengthened one's essential position [in life].

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I often find that a novel, even a well-written and compelling novel, can become a blur to me soon after I've finished reading it. I recollect perfectly the feeling of reading it, the mood I occupied, but I am less sure about the narrative details. It is almost as if the book were, as Wittgenstein said of his propositions, a ladder to be climbed and then discarded after it has served its purpose.

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If literature survives at all, it is as retreat for those who refuse to assimilate to American mass culture.

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About Sven Birkerts

Quotes 14 sayings
Profession Essayist
Birthday October 16

Where am I when I am involved in a book?

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