Matthew's Portrait by Patrick Henry Reardon

Column: As It Is Written . . .

Matthew's Portrait

Edgar Allen Poe, in his penetrating review of Bleak House, remarked that no reader can comprehend the real wealth of that work in a single reading. Numerous shades of nuance, Poe explained, and dozens of subtle connections were woven so deeply into the fabric of Bleak House that their presence was not even suspected on a first reading.

On a second reading, however, the now enlightened reader knows what to look for; he will perceive treasures that eluded his attention the first time through. Innumerable lines will shine now with a new luster. Thus, concluded Poe, fully to grasp the meaning of Bleak House for the first time, the reader is obliged to go through it a second time.

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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).

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