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

Happy Birthday, Blog

Happy Birthday, Blog I’ve been running this blog for just a year now—I posted the first essay on July 12, 2020—and I thought this would be an appropriate moment to think (out loud, as it were) about what I’ve been doing and what I might do in the future. I have enjoyed writing and posting … Continue reading Happy Birthday, Blog

Allusion Hunter

In recent posts I’ve been talking about allusions and related devices, such as reference and quotation. Most of the examples I’ve used have come from “high” literature, “serious” literature, but there are interesting instances of allusion and reference and quotation in “popular” literature as well. In this post I’m going to discuss allusions and references … Continue reading Allusion Hunter

Is That Original?

In my last couple of posts I’ve been talking about allusions, their virtues and vices, and I thought I would continue that discussion for another post or two. Allusions are only part of the story, however. They are part of a field of related literary phenomena, including also direct references, imitation, influence, and outright plagiarism. … Continue reading Is That Original?

Words Without a Song

This post is a continuation of my previous post, in which I looked at some allusions. Today I’m going to look at one particular poem and the allusions in it and the kinds of meanings I think are carried by the allusions. The poem I have picked is titled “Words Without a Song”, and it … Continue reading Words Without a Song