The Art of Reading Slowly

This is a blog about language and literature. I’ve always been fascinated by words, by how words form sentences, and how sentences form poems and stories. The technical term for this fascination is philology—the love of language. Friedrich Nietzsche defined philology as the art of reading slowly—that’s where I got the title for this blog. In the section titled What is Philology? I discuss what I take to be the four major components of philology: historical linguistics, the editing of texts, the interpretation of language in context, and the interpretation of literature with special attention to language. I’m interested in all of these, and I will post blogs on all of them, but my own work lies primarily in the third and fourth areas. 

I created this site as an invitation for anyone who has a passion for literature—readers and writers of all sorts. I would like to think of this blog as one part of a conversation among people who share an interest in the way language works and the way it turns into art. Please feel free to enter the conversation by dropping me a note with your reactions to my posts or with your own thoughts. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Karen L. Hogan, who did all the hard work of designing and mounting this blog. Without her help it wouldn’t have happened.

About Matthew Clark

My Most Recent Blog Posts

Pneumonia, Amnesia, and Knee

Etymological Entertainments #3 Today I want to talk a little more about phonotactics, that is, the rules of sound combination in various languages. In an earlier post (“Etymological Entertainments #2”) I noted that when we say the English word “pterodactyl” we don’t pronounce the initial “p”—we say “teradactyl”. The initial cluster “pt” is not allowed … Continue reading Pneumonia, Amnesia, and Knee

Lost in a Book

Some years back, when my mother was still alive, I called her one day to find out how she was doing. “I’m a little tired today,” she said, “because I didn’t get much sleep last night.” What kept you up? I asked. “Well,” she answered, “you know I always read a little bit before I … Continue reading Lost in a Book