It will be seen that all the experiences on which our judgements are based depend on taking the words seriously. Unless we are fully attending both to sound and sense, unless we hold ourselves obediently ready to conceive, imagine, and feel as the words invite us, we shall not have these experiences. Unless you are really trying to look through the lens you cannot discover whether it is good or bad. We can never know that a piece of writing is bad unless we have begun by trying ot read it as if it was very good and ended by discovering that we were paying the author an undeserved compliment. But the unliterary reader never intends to give the words more than the bare minimum of attenion necessary for extracting the Event. Most of the things which good writing gives or bad writing fails to give are things he does not want and has no use for.
This explains why he does not value good writing. But it also explains why he prefers bad writing. In the picture stories of the 'strips', really good drawing is not only not demanded but would be an impediment. For every person or object must be instantly and effortlessly recognisable. The pictures are not there to be fully looked at but to be understaood as statements; they are one degree removed from hieroglyphics. Now words, for the unliterary reader, are in much the same position. The hackneyeed cliche for every appearance or emotion (emotions my abe part of the Event) is for him the best, because it is immediately recognisable. 'My blood ran cold' is a hieroglyph of fear. Any attempt, such as a great writer might make, to render this fear concrete in its full particularity, is doubly a chokepear to the unliterary reader. For it offers him what he doesn't want, and offers it only on the condition of his giving to the words a kind and degree of attention which he does not intend to give. It is like trying to sell him something he has no use for at a price he does not wish to pay.
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