How to Read and Why

Harold Bloom, Author Scribner Book Company $25 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-85906-4
This aesthetic self-help manual is a reliably idiosyncratic guide to what Yale literary critic Bloom calls ""the most healing of pleasures""-- reading well. In chapters that focus on short stories, poems, novels and plays, Bloom takes readers on a swift but satisfying joyride through the West's most outrageous, original and exuberant texts--classics by Chekhov, Flannery O'Connor, Borges, Dickinson, Proust, Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison, among others. Unconventionally organized by literary genre, his text is passionately anecdotal and observant. By asking great questions--""Why does Lady Bracknell delight us so much?""; ""How does one read a short story?""--Bloom hopes to influence our reading lists and habits. He gives some texts, such as Moby-Dick, almost cursory treatment; others he discusses at length. Fans of his bestselling Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (1998) will find the lengthy discussion of Hamlet here to be a kind of coda. Overall, this book is a testament to Bloom's view that reading is above all a pleasurably therapeutic event. ""Imaginative literature is otherness, and as such alleviates loneliness,"" he notes, reminding us of what's inexhaustible about writers such as Whitman and Borges and attesting to the satisfaction that literary texts offer our solitary selves. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-684-85907-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4025-0526-3
Hardcover - 379 pages - 978-0-7432-0428-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-84115-039-0
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