Vancouver Unconventional Books Message Board › Bloom's Five Adopted Rules of Reading
The following "rules of reading" are taken from the prologue of Harold Bloom's book "How to Read and Why":
1.) "Clear your mind of cant" ―Samuel Johnson, from "The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.", Volume IV, by James Boswell, 1791 (i.e., don't allow your mind to become clouded by foolish thinking, common prejudices, or received dogmas -- be they social, political, academic, or otherwise).
2.) Do not attempt to improve your neighbor or your neighborhood by what or how you read (i.e., the aesthetic value of reading is an individual rather than a societal concern; it is not public service or social work -- you are in this for yourself and nobody else; reading is a wholly solitary endeavor meant to augment the self).
3.) "A scholar is a candle which the love and desire of all men will light" ―Ralph Waldo Emerson "Society and Solitude", 1870 (i.e., read for no other purpose but the development and cultivation of your own mind; become an authentic reader and the response to your labors will confirm your illumination of truth and wisdom to others).
4.) "One must be an inventor to read well. There is then creative reading as well as creative writing." ―Ralph Waldo Emerson "The American Scholar", 1837 (i.e., read deeply, vigorously, and creatively to develop the self-trust, discernment, and aesthetic sensibility of a true scholar and authentic reader).
5.) The recovery of the ironic is necessary for the restoration of reading (i.e., irony is a subtle mode of aesthetic cognition which reflects our perpetual experience of life, language, and human nature as something irreducibly fluid and ambiguous -- meanings and representations are not fixed or absolute; they are ever-changing in a continuous state of free dialectical play and paradox).
"Irony demands a certain attention span, and the ability to sustain antithetical ideas, even when they collide with one another. Strip irony away from reading, and it loses at once all discipline and all surprise. Find now what comes near to you, that can be used for weighing and considering, and it very likely will be irony, even if many of your teachers will not know what it is, or where it is to be found. Irony will clear your mind of the cant of the ideologues, and help you to blaze forth as the scholar of one candle." ―Harold Bloom, "How to Read and Why", 2000.
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