Books are to be call’d for, and supplied, on the assumption that the process of reading is not a half-sleep, but, in the highest sense, a gymnast’s struggle; that the reader is to do something for himself, must be on the alert, must himself or herself construct indeed the poem, argument, history, metaphysical essay – the text furnishing the hints, the clue, the start of the frame-work. Not the book needs so much to be the complete thing, but the reader of the book does. That were to make a nation of supple and athletic minds, well train’d, intuitive, used to depend on themselves and not on a few coteries of writers.

Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas (1982)