The Art of Reading
How to read more wisely & skilfully
The Art of Reading is an 8-week online course, aiming to offer participants a deep and .
More fundamentally and more importantly than that, however, it is a community of readers with a shared interest in discovering and cultivating new ways of actively engaging with texts.
Who is it for?
This course is aimed primarily at academic students (and indeed teachers and professors!) in the Humanities, as a supplement to their studies and work.
However, it is also open more broadly to anyone with an interest in how and why we read, and in how — through collective inquiry, dialogue, and activity — we might deepen and enrich the role that reading has in our lives.
Will has a degree in English Language & Literature from the University of Oxford, though he strives to cultivate a relationship with reading (both his own and that of others) which goes beyond the constraints and limitations of academia.
He is interested in reading (and writing) as art — as something which can genuinely enrich our lives; personally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
reading as art
What does it mean to read? Why read? How can we read in ways which truly enrich our lives?
As students, many of us will spend hundreds if not thousands of hours reading during the course of our education. And yet we
Reading has the potential to enrich our lives in a way that few other human activities can. Through reading, we have access to the collective experience and wisdom of humanity, recorded and accumulated over thousands of years. See Berry on the guy who talks about 'community of readers'.
Despite its best intentions, the mainstream educational system tends to instil an experience of reading which is severely limited, even stunted. In the context of standardised examination and assessment, reading ultimately becomes a means to an end — namely, grades. This institutionalised form of reading is driven ultimately by the idea of knowledge as a commodity — as something that can be extracted and accumulated from books, in order to be regurgitated and assessed in exams. In this way, reading becomes reduced to a sort of transaction, wherein there is little (if any) room to experience how a text might actually serve to enrich our inner (and outer) lives, and make us better human beings.
The Art of Reading course is for students who are painfully aware of , and who want to rediscover, reclaim, and reimagine the act of reading for themselves.
Together, we will encounter and enter into dialogue with a range of thinkers and writers, from across the arts, history, philosophy, psychology, politics... We will be asking ourselves such questions as -
How might we read things other than books?
How might we lose and find ourselves through reading?
Is there such a thing as too much reading, and relying too heavily on the written word?