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Monday, April 12, 2010


"Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard."
Daphne du Maurier


  1. One could push her idea to the extreme and say one should never know the author of a text.

    This is an absurd exaggeration, but it can make us perceive how much we are influenced by our imaginations about the author when we read a text.

    We can get to a serene judgement on a text, avoiding prejudices, only if the author is unknown. When I want to hear an opinion about a text, I therefore sometimes do not tell the reader who wrote the text. This gives the reader the opportunity to feel the challenge of the very ideas in the text, and this "blind reading" is as useful as blind experiments on pharmaceutical products. Gorgias from Leontinoi already said, that "logos" was a "pharmakon".

    But on the other hand, we overvaluate all the texts whose authors are not known. The less we know about the author, the more a text can seem "holy". The more we know about the person, the more democratic becomes the perception of the texts he writes. And the democratic disenchantment we experience, when a writer appears in a talkshow, is as useful as reading blindly.

    In the german tv I have never seen one of the sacred monsters speaking in a talkshow. German writers appear on tv only, if someone makes a documentary which has to be stared on like a monument. And Margret Dünser's use of her tv interviews isn't very democratic as well, since she creates monuments of personalities, instead of showing persons like Gigi Marzullo does, when he interviews actors, scientists or orchestra directors etc. The often dispraised italian tv sometimes is much better than the often praised german tv.

    Pasolini showed up in tv-discussions, Dacia Maraini in easy talk shows. It doesn't happen very often even in Italy that these operators of the sublime get out of the ivory tower, but it is always a healthy experience for the reader, and Fabio Fazio and Corrado Augias from time to time invite writers in their shows. A paradox in a country which has much less readers than Germany.

  2. I have no working TV but very often I hear german culture radio channels. There, a lot of authors, conductors, musicians and other artists are broadcasted, mostly interviewed.
    Whatever Madame du Maurier demands of pure literature, we like to know the whole story and this includes the author himself and sometimes the working process as well.

  3. @cs

    Yes,the radio in Germany is wonderful. You won't believe it, but one of the things I love most of Germany is just the radio (while in Italy there is little more than only one good culture channel receivable allover Italy), and I wonder if there is another place in the world with so many good radio programs. And the service has been always very good: in the 70-ties I sometimes wrote a card to various channels to ask, whether I could get a written copy of a broadcast. And after two days I usually had a free copy! Unimaginable in Italy.

    I have always loved the radio. But the tv in my opinion is a great instrument, especially every kind of live broadcasting is conducive to physiognomic truth. I would even say, one knows a country only when one knows its free tv. I have never been in the USA! If I had to stay one year there, I probably would pass some months looking at the tv, "observing" the tv.