Word of the Day: Oblivescence

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(n.); the process of forgetting;

“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. When we read a book for the first time, the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation.”

–Vladmir Nabokov, from “Good Readers and Good Writers”

This week, Tim Parks takes us on a wonderfully meditative reflection on something we tend, as readers, to take for granted: the physical act of moving one’s eyes across the page, of engaging with words, and—unavoidably—forgetting them. The first reading of any text, Parks agrees with Nabokov, is “irrelevant”; we can only know a text through second, third, and so forth readings to “know the end of the story … and see how it is foreshadowed at the beginning, how the strands are spun and gathered together.”


Sara Menuck is currently pursuing BA in English & Professional Writing at York University, Toronto, without being very professional at all. Having interned with a variety of small press publications, she currently works as a prose reader for The Winter Tangerine Review, a department editorial assistant, and, in her free time, a teacher of music to very small, adorable children. More from this author →