Ex Libris Kirkland

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Subtitle What makes us who we are?
First Written 2020
Genre Theology
Origin UK
Publisher Canterbury Press Norwich
ISBN-10 1786221268
ISBN-13 978-1786221261
My Copy paperback
First Read September 16, 2023

Holiness and Desire

Picked this up because I am (apparently?) a fan of Christian Thinky Power Couple Francis Spufford and Jessica Martin. I really love Spufford's novels and essays, and I have read and been amazed by Martin's work several times, notably her intro to Paradise Lost and some online sermons from Ely Cathedral. And that's saying something, I've got a pretty solid 'one sermon per week' rule, but she's got some bangers. SO: a whole book! Definitely going on the to-read list.

These aren't sermons, but an actual extended look at desire (in many forms) and what its theological implications are. I've just started it.

Noted on September 16, 2023

Our vision of text as unbodied betrays us, and the mistake is remarkably modern. People were much more likeir to sound out words as they read a couple of hundred yeas ago, to learn things by heart. Words existed in lips and lungs and palates and breath as much as they existed in text. The young Florence Nightingale, furious in trapped rebellion as she searched for a way to pursue her nursing vocation, experienced someone reading aloud to her as assault:

What is it to be read aloud to? . .. It is like lying on one's back, with one's hands tied and having liquid poured down one's throat. Worse than that, because suffocation would immediately ensue and put a stop to the operation. But nothing would stop the other.

It's a particularly striking image - reading as waterboard-ing - a precursor too of the force-feeding that suffragettes would experience a little more than half a century later. That was how powerful the spoken word was to her. Words spoken aloud, in time and space and company, make things happen.

Quoted on September 16, 2023

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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