Harold Bloom’s How To Read And Why

In Literature, the only constant is the solitary act of reading. But even that, Harold Bloom writes, has been deeply mistranslated. The function of solitary reading – be it short stories, plays, poetry, novels – is grossly misunderstood as an appetite for escapism or to provoke the fancies of idealism. What it is, what it could ever be, is a preparation for change, a profound realization of ‘self’.

How To Read And Why offers you a combination of literature’s most whimsical, intelligent, and piercing treasures. The start of the book reclaims and reignites a reader’s lost soul. Harold Bloom evokes wisdom and transcendence in a single breath. His understanding of literature affords you both the solitude and the seductions of reading. The kind that restricts no depth, no essence, and no duration. Some familiar, some strange. But all passionate and necessary to nurture the resilience of one’s life and the role of literature in it.

To read means to elevate the stirrings of a self. To read means to decipher and deconstruct one’s emotional and intellectual solitudes. The absoluteness of the universe that represents the ambiguity of those who are part of it.

Harold Bloom intimates the genius and generosity of those we rarely mull over in our daily chaos and calm. Shakespeare, Chekov, Turgenev, Flannery O’Connor, Hemingway, Nabokov, Whitman, Proust, Bronte, Dickens, Henry James, and so many others. He shines a penetrating light into the many labyrinths and recesses of literature. The lessons, the epiphanies, the ethos of life and death.

“There are still solitary readers, young and old, everywhere, even in the universities. If there is a function of criticism at the present time, it must be to address itself to the solitary reader, who reads for herself, and not for the interests that supposedly transcend the self.”

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