Writers and Perception


Prague, Czech Republic

I’m reading Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, and he makes the following observation. I’ve been there, and I’m sure my perception of the city differs.

“A long time ago I was in the ancient city of Prague and at the same time Joseph Alsop, the justly famous critic of places and events was there. He talked to informed people, officials, ambassadors; he read reports, even the fine print and figures, while I in my slipshod manner roved about with actors, gypsies, vagabonds. Joe and I flew home to America in the same plane, and on the way he told me about Prague, and his Prague had no relation to the city I had seen and heard. It just wasn’t the same place, and yet each of us was honest, neither one a liar, both pretty good observers by any standard. And we brought home two cities, two truths. For this reason I cannot commend this account as an America that you will find. So much there is to see, but our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes, and surely our wearied evening eyes can report only a weary evening world.”

— John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America , pp. 76-77 [1962; quote taken from 1963 Bantam paperback; use on the necessary involvement of individual experiences in what a place ‘is’, and on the inherent multiplicity (without a lack of reality) of imaginative place] Found on PostDoc Chronicles

About Bob McCarthy

Originally from the Northeast, I now call Southwest Florida home. I have been a professional copywriter and editor since 1979, both freelance and in house. I have had article published in regional, national and international magazines. Plus, a video for which I wrote the script won an industry award as Best Training Video.
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