Here is the full phrase: "The ideal reader of my novels is a lapsed Catholic and failed musician, short-sighted, color-blind, auditorily biased, who has read the books that I have read". The speaker was an English writer born in 1917.


He means a person who gives greater (than normal) weight or importance to hearing than to, say, seeing. This makes sense as the person is short-sighted, color-blind, and also musical (although 'failed').

Perhaps as in https://community.tes.com/threads/graphics-is-boring-discuss.80721/

In a world where so much information is passed using a visual medium, where children especially at KS2/KS3 are more Visually Orientated than Kinaesthetically or Auditorily biased shouldn't we be pushing Graphics in all formats. The title of this thread should have been Graphics for the 21st Century - Discuss .. not a preconceived negative viewpoint.

Or http://www.inspiritive.com.au/experimental-methodology-in-nlp-research/

One question was auditorily biased:

What was the last song you heard before coming here?

Also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Burgess [my bold]

A versatile linguist, Burgess lectured in phonetics, and translated Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King and the opera Carmen, among others.

Burgess also composed over 250 musical works; he sometimes claimed to consider himself as much a composer as an author, although he enjoyed considerably more success in writing.


One's first impression would be that he means either "hard of hearing" or "tone deaf". However, when considered within the context of the sentence one sees that it could also imply a tendency to only hear what you want to hear.

It's impossible to discern the intent with certainty without resorting to a seance, I suspect.

  • Thanks! Yes, the context is too scarce to give a definite answer. A Burgess expert suggested to me that he may also alluded to his hate for certain music styles.
    – Veta Veta
    Aug 10 '16 at 4:25

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