Mirror Gazing is a book about reading and looking, about what people seek when they read, and about what stares back at them from the printed page. It is an archival project, based on a wealth of material collected daily by celebrated critic Warren F. Motte over thirty-five years and squirreled away for some eventual winter. It is also a love letter, a confession, a tale of deep obsession, and a cry for help addressed to anyone who takes literature seriously.
“At heart, this is not just a book about mirror scenes, interesting as they are— and they are interesting. It’s also a look at passion, at collection, at personal taxonomies and the game of creating order from disorder (do we ever win that game?). It’s about how we read and why we read. And it’s about the Delphic maxim, “Know thyself.” Motte explores how characters look for (or suddenly catch) themselves in mirrors, as well as how (or whether) the act of writing is a reflection, distorted or true, of writers themselves.”— Julie Larios, Numero Cinq
“I believe (and I’m choosing my words carefully) that this is the most extraordinary book about reading I have ever read” – Jacques Jouet
“Wonderfully luminous, entertaining, thought-provoking, and wide-ranging…an essential book” – Gerald Prince
“Motte has collected around ten thousand mirror scenes from roughly 1,500 books. This, in and of itself, is noteworthy, but the book is not simply a reprinting of quotes from various books. It is a deeply considered analysis of what it actually means to look into a mirror. For the serious reader, this book will serve as a trip through your reading past. I was reminded—somewhat nostalgically—of much of the literature that has defined the early part of my adult life. From Nabokov to Salinger to Rilke to Calvino, the book makes its way into just about every corner of American and European literature.” – Nancy Smith, YourImpossibleVoice