Reading Bad

Bruce Robbins / LA Review of Books

A perspicuous reading of Merve Emre’s Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Reader in Postwar America. Decidedly not bad.

I read this twice, ostensibly because being a bad reader is a great fear of mine. After ignoring my suspicions during Pale Fire, i.e. that Charles Kinbote was a madman, I read through to the book’s end credulously, freeing myself from my intuitions. When I finished the book, I did some research; turns out, yeah, the dude was bonkers.

This isn’t necessarily that; what attracted me to Reading Bad was the notion against institutional reading:

The bad reading for which Emre wants to make the corresponding case is reading that, because it happens in institutions, is consequential, a force in the world, if also inescapably tainted by that world, hence impure.

Robbins goes on to illuminate Emre’s point of view on what this means, but I’d prefer to muse on it with my own perception. Mine is a perception largely informed by the experience I mentioned above: My “pure” reading of Pale Fire was garbage on account of an innate fear that my reading might be garbage. I couldn’t trust myself. This pervades everyday life for me, and I seek desperately for its remedy.

Poincaré on Intuition in Mathematics

Henri Poincaré

I love opposites, false dichotomies, and sweeping generalizations about types-of-people. Here’s the mathematician’s version.

In summary: Some people learn inductively, others through a more deductive intuition. Poincaré thinks both are important. :tada: