At Free Love Corner

Jenny Diski

  • Literary Seductions: Compulsive Writers and Diverted Readers by Frances Wilson
    Faber, 258 pp, £12.99, October 1999, ISBN 0 571 19288 2

Reading, according to Barthes, is like those other solitary occupations, praying and masturbation. Certainly, there are those who are troubled when they come across people publicly performing the act of silent reading. When the youthful Augustine found Ambrose reading without moving his lips, he made every effort to excuse his mentor:

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