Reading S. King's "Breathing Method"

This is based on my missing lecture about some ways to read. Comments are welcome.
Please send them to

Enjoy first.

Talked about how we used to listen to records.   Discuss artists' allusions to other artists. Note how this parallels how some watch and re-watch video or play and re-play video games.
Layering, multiple levels, and multiple audiences (e.g., Lucy in the Sky, Stairway to Heaven, American Pie).
Levels in traditional Jewish reading (PaRDeS, adding/including the level of personal relevance, as indicated in some mystical readings, as exemplified by Gordon's reading of Ellison's Invisible Man in "The Body."

Explicitly and implicitly.
Pay attention when the story or work talks about stories and reading and meaning ("Sometimes words have two meanings." Owen Meany's discussion of how to read in John Irving's book; Augustine on how to read, etc.).
Pay attention at other times as well.

Titles, names, initials, parallels, front matter, dedications, and afterwords.

Enjoy first.

Breathing Methods
Hard questions about title (s) and teller (s).
Discuss some of the names.
Context in Different Seasons' stories about friendship and stories. (Innocence, Redemption, Corruption, Evil, death, birth. Direct allusions to external stories. Discussion of stories' intrinsic value. Parallels to winter tales including Shakespeare and Christmas story.
Structure. Cameo. Where the stories come from. The danger of being too critical.
Worlds outside doors. S. King's larger projects. (Include Talisman (with Straub), Stand, and Dark Tower.

Amiable magic opposed to cheap magic.
See Reading for Survival, by by John D. Macdonald

Use methods appropriate to secret writing, if indicated.  [For more information, please see Leo Strauss's Persecution and the Art of Writing.  I also have some notes that may be useful posted at]
Michael Kagan
Le Moyne College
last updated Feb. 20, 2019

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