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“The text is a forest in which the reader is the hunter.”

Walter Benjamin

Forests are complex. Something beautiful or scary may lurk and suddenly materialise behind shrubs or trees. There are no predefined paths, instead the ways through the forests are winding and, in a good sense, bewildering. One is confused and, when reading or writing, one has to stride vigorously through the thicket.

Walter Benjamin evoked this image and, in so doing, defined his writing as ‘prismatic’: perspectives are changed constantly; in the process of writing one docks on to different associations because the straight path is dogmatic and leads to ideological representations. Reading is no different because other thoughts and also acoustic and other sensual perceptions constantly creep in, interlinking with what we are reading.

 

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