I read this yesterday in Alan Jacobs’s book The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction:
So today I decided to take Jacobs’s challenge to heart.
My whim reads were an introduction to one of my favorite novels, Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady, and about half of an Oxford UP Very Short Introduction to Plato. Great stuff. A. I want to read PoaL again (“She made a convenience of me.”), and I’m eager to take a long look at The Republic after reading Julia Annas’s well-written intro to the Greek philosopher.
Alan Jacobs’s book A Theology of Reading is articulating a lot of things I’ve felt but haven’t taken the time to either think through thoroughly or find theoretical justification for. Here are some of the authors (and books) Jacobs uses liberally and which his book has made me, in turn, want to pick up.
- De Doctrina Christiana – St. Augustine
- Art and Answerability: Early Philosophical Essays – Mikhail Bakhtin
- The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays – WH Auden
- Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason – John Milbank
- Real Presences – George Steiner
CS Lewis published An Experiment in Criticism in 1961, and its as close to a statement of critical purpose as he ever gave. The book’s basic premise is that evaluative criticism often hinders our reading experience. In matters of taste, Lewis proposes, we should spend more time thinking about HOW we read rather than WHAT we read. An Experiment in Criticism is a provocative (and short) read, and it’s not just polemic. Lewis’s gracious and direct style is one of the book’s main attractions. Here are some things I learned…
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