A Lesson on Reading with Harold Bloom

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Reading Harold Bloom on how to read is like reading a self help manual by a strict schoolmaster. Read. Read deeply. Read alone. Read Shakespeare. Read Dante, Chaucer, Cervantes, Dickens and Proust.

Bloom is strict about his lifelong passion. Reading aloud is not what it was like in Victorian times, he says. The destiny of the novel is foggy. Don’t read short stories for wise sayings or parables. Read them for the pleasure of closure. Don’t read Edgar Allan Poe. Read Chekov, Borges, Hemingway and Henry James. Don’t read poetry, memorize poetry. Start with Tennyson’s Ulysses. Then Whitman, Dickinson and Milton.

Read Don Quixote. Read Pride and Prejudice. Read Great Expectations, Crime and Punishment and Moby Dick. Read to find yourself. Read to experience the difficult pleasure of the sublime. Then re-read it all. The Bloomian tutorial on reading.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Harold Bloom, Professor of English at Harvard University