Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University, Berg Professor of English at New York University, and a former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard. His more than twenty books include Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, The Western Canon, The Book of J and The Anxiety of Influence. He is a MacArthur Prize fellow; a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the recipient of many awards, including the Academy's Gold Medal for Criticism, and he holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Rome and Bologna.
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A Conversation with Harold Bloom author of How To Read and Why
What inspired you to write How To Read and Why?
With both The Western Canon published back in 1994 and Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human published in 1998, I had toured extensively and found an astonishing response from the audiences I addressed and from people who talked to me and people for whom I was signing books. To this day, I am deluged with mail from people who say how desperately pleased they are to find that someone is indeed writing about literature for the common reader, that someone does not try, as it were, to do the French thing, in regard to literary study or the many ideological modes which I will not mention, which are now practiced in the Anglo-American Universities and college world.
The more I thought about the response to these two books I had written, the more I realized that neither of them had really addressed a need which I felt highly qualified and highly driven to meet. And that is, a self-help book, indeed, an inspiration book, which would not only encourage solitary readers of all kinds all over the world to go on reading for themselves, but also support them in their voyages of self-discovery through reading. [...
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