Lost Art

Picasso's Woman With Book

Picasso's Woman With Book

It fascinates me that an artist could potentially relay a singular thought/expression/concept across a thousand different types of media. Perhaps the message would be the same, or in each case it would have a slightly different meaning.

Something else that fascinates me is when I stumble upon something that stares me in the face every day but I never really see it as beautiful or artful. And then — eureka! — I get it.

I’m talking about the act of reading aloud, the art of reading aloud. It is a type of art, yet one of a myriad that we don’t think about often.

I read to my kids every day. Sometimes they pick the books,  sometimes I pick the books. Usually I read to them, sometimes they read to me. Yet we always tell a story a different way each time. We get something different out of it. We narrow in on one character, zoom out to get the whole view. Perhaps we go into it looking for something different each time.

I suppose the art of reading out loud is not the words themselves or the illustrations in the book, it’s the way the words are spoken. Lilting in places, s—l—o—w in places, rapid-fire in places. Filled with emotion (or not), crafty, cheeky, peppy, fiesty.  

The NYT published a recent article on this topic that beautifully demonstrates the “art” of reading aloud:

Reading aloud captures the physicality of words. To read with your lungs and diaphram, with your tongue and lips, is very different than reading with your eyes alone. The language becomes part of the body, which is why there’s always a curious tenderness in those 18th and 19th century literary scenes where a book is being read aloud. The words are not mere words. They are the breath and mind, perhaps even the soul, of the person who is reading… It’s as though they’re reading what the words represent rather than the words themselves.


One comment

  1. alas… a subject on which I may comment… semantics is its own reward… the result of which should be engraved on the understanding and heart”with the point of a diamond”and the pen of an angel. MBE S&H 521:14

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