1 A rationale

by Malcolm Redfellow

First the web-title:

Most anthologies of quotations will give this:

I’ve never known any trouble that an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.

The haut ton would attribute that to the archetypal observer of the enlightenment, Montesquieu. He was, at full stretch, Baron de Brede et de Montesquieu and his dates are given as 18th January 1689 to 10th February 1755. Mere peasants and egalitarians ascribe the pensée to Charles de Secondat (1689-1755). One and the same. They together wrote Pensées Diverses, from which that is translated.

Or, if you prefer it in the original:

L’étude a été pour moi le souverain remède contre les dégoûts de la vie, n’ayant jamais eu de chagrin qu’une heure de lecture n’ait dissipé.

Next the context:

Malcolm spent many, many years trying to encourage younger secondary-school students to keep a reading diary. This chore, it was vainly thought by those set in authority, would encourage — even guide — reading habits. More sinister — especially at collegiate level — there is often a hidden agenda, as here:

I realised that keeping a reading diary needed to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience, so I indicated that as long as the diaries displayed an intelligent engagement with the work of at least two feminist theorists, students were free to write and present their diaries in whichever way they felt appropriate.

So, having mocked the reading experience of others, it is only faier to allow others to mock Malcolm’s.

The punch-line

Leisure reading, at any level, any stage, should be rewarding and fun. It is the most intensive route to self-development.

Malcolm blogs, as he has repeatedly said, to keep the Alzheimer’s at bay. His reading is a similar prophylaxis..

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