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Friday

Hundred times


Even the most superb of movies can only be seen a very limited number of times (say five or six) before it goes stale, before an impression of utter inertness takes over.

Why should this be?

In what way is a piece of print - a poem, a chapter in a novel, a scene from a play - any less 'fixed', static, unchanging than a film frame? Yet we can read the same poem a hundred times over in our lives and it will literally be new to us. Where does the difference lie? What is there about purely visual material which does not have the inherent repeatability, the sameness within change which is the attribute of the written word? So far as I know, neither nor psychology have come up with an answer. But the evidence is, I believe, unmistakable, and it entails a power of survival for printed speech which no competing medium has.