“there is always something essential that remains outside the written sentence”

by Nick

“but in the case of the novel you must consider that in the succession of sentences only one sensation can pass at a time, whether it be individual or general, whereas the breadth of the visual field and the auditory field allows the simultaneous recording of a much richer and more complex whole. The reader’s receptivity with respect to the collection of sensations that the novel wants to direct at him is found to be much reduced, first by the fact that his often hasty and absent reading does not catch or neglects a certain number of signals and inattentions actually contained in the text, and second because there is always something essential that remains outside the written sentence; indeed, the things that the novel does not say, and only a special halo around what is written can give the illusion that you are reading also what is unwritten.” (198)

From Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler his wonderful 20th Century rendition of One Thousand and One Nights.