How to Read and Why - Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

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Introduction: Bloom says that poetry is "freer from history than prose fiction or drama", but he says that he will avoid a discussion of poetic form, sticking simply with the content itself.

Housmann, Blake, Landor and Tennyson: Housman's lyric "Into my heart an air that kills," Bloom says, is a poem he used to chant to himself, and Bloom advocates the advantages of memorizing poems as a way of possessing them. In Bloom's account, the poem paints a convincing picture of the world of inspiration beyond the present moment reality, but the picture is marked with sadness for having arrived later in history than other writers. "The true criterion for any good poem is that it will sustain a very close reading indeed." (p. 71).

Turning to Blake's "Sick Rose", Bloom says that the poem's ironies are cruel: "it is a kind of spell, a prophetic...

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This section contains 2,491 words
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