On Words, Books, Reading and Readers
For many people, T. S. Eliot gravely observed, literature is a substitute for religion, and added: so is their religion. It will be plain, I hope, that neither substitution applies to me. I value literature so highly because it is the best creative activity -the making of things outside ourselves – that I can imagine, discover and respond to. If I had a religion, literature would be happily made into a side-support. More: literature, words, language are my second prop; face-to-face relationships are the first.