Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Reader Survey
PN Review Substack

This report is taken from PN Review 152, Volume 29 Number 6, July - August 2003.

A Day from Sleep: (1) Coming To Raymond Tallis

(1) Coming To

I would have liked to have begun by describing my passage from sleep and so I am disappointed, though not surprised, to find that I can't. Capturing waking is like trying to recall one's recovery from the confusions, inadequacies and incompetencies of childhood. Granted, awakening should be an easier story to tell. For a start, it's a bit nearer in time. I woke a few hours ago, while I left my childhood in the middle of the last century. What's more, I repeat awakening on a daily basis. Even so, capturing emergence from sleep is more difficult than writing a Bildungsroman because the changes to be documented are more profound.

The problem in both cases, however, is similar. First, the continuity of the change makes the process as formless, and hence as elusive, as fog thinning to mist. Secondly, observation of selves (as of elementary particles), interferes with the observed. You can't creep up on your own untwilighting with binoculars, pen, or Dictaphone. The act of recording takes you a long way away from the state that is to be recorded. Thirdly - and most importantly - you are no longer the person you have changed from - the one who was in the process of waking up. Striving to recall what it is like awakening from sleep is like trying to access files on a continually reformatting disc using an operating system that bootstrapping makes obsolete.

The employment of ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image