In reality, every reader, while [s]he is reading, is the reader of his[sic] own self. The writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument, which [s]he offers to the reader to permit him[sic] to discern what, without the book, [s]he would perhaps never have seen in him[sic]self. The reader's recognition in his[sic] own self of what the book says is the proof of its truth.
~ Marcel Proust, Le temps retrouvé
quoted by Ruth Ozeki in her wonderful & puzzling Tale for the Time Being