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How to Read and Why
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About the Author

Described in the New York Times as ' a colossus among critics [with] an encyclopedic intellect, exuberant eccentricity, a massive love of literature. The legend of his genius spans four decades' , Harold Bloom was born to a Yiddish-speaking family and learnt to speak English by reading the works of William Blake. He studied at Cornell, Pembroke College, Cambridge and Yale, and is Professor of Humanities at Yale and Professor of English at New York Universities, a regular contributor to literary journals and the recipient of many prizes and awards.

Reviews

This aesthetic self-help manual is a reliably idiosyncratic guide to what Yale literary critic Bloom calls "the most healing of pleasures"Ä 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 textsÄclassics 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 questionsÄ"Why does Lady Bracknell delight us so much?"; "How does one read a short story?"ÄBloom 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) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

'How to Read and Why ... is sensationally alert to the joys of reading; and practically every page has some useful insight, some energising challenge.' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'It would be possible to fill a review of Bloom's work with his own phrases, so prodical is he of insight . . . he is never less than memorable.' THE TIMES 'Bloom's love of great literature is contagious. It sent me off anew to Proust, to Flannery O'Connor, to Italo Calvino; and for the first time to many others.' GUARDIAN '...there is a very great deal of profit and enjoyment to be had from these pages" FINANCIAL TIMES 'Bloom is the kind of infuriating, eccentric and ultimately inspiring teacher that we all need. If you want a survey course of the best reading around start here.' SUNDAY HERALD

Advice on getting wrapped up in literature, from Shakespeare to Faulkner. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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