Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930) is an American literary critic and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. Since the publication of his first book in 1959, Bloom has written more than forty books, including twenty books of literary criticism, several books discussing religion, and a novel. He has edited hundreds of anthologies concerning numerous literary and philosophical figures for the Chelsea House publishing firm. Bloom's books have been translated into more than 40 languages.
|Born||July 11, 1930|
The Bronx, New York
|Occupation||Literary critic, writer, professor|
|Education||Cornell University (B.A.)|
Yale University (PhD)
Pembroke College, Cambridge
|Literary movement||Aestheticism, Romanticism|
|Spouse||Jeanne Gould (m. 1958; 2 children)|
Bloom was born in New York City, the son of Paula (Lev) and William Bloom. He lived in the South Bronx at 1410 Grand Concourse. He was raised as an Orthodox Jew in a Yiddish-speaking household, where he learned literary Hebrew; he learned English at the age of six. Bloom's father, a garment worker, was born in Odessa and his mother, a homemaker, near Brest Litovsk in what is today Belarus. Harold had three older sisters and an older brother of whom he is the sole survivor.
As a boy, Bloom read Hart Crane's Collected Poems, a collection that inspired his lifelong fascination with poetry. Bloom went to the Bronx High School of Science (where his grades were poor but his standardized-test scores were high), and subsequently received a B.A. in Classics from Cornell in 1951, where he was a student of English literary critic M. H. Abrams, and a PhD from Yale in 1955. In 1954-55 Bloom was a Fulbright Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Bloom was a standout student at Yale, where he clashed with the faculty of New Critics including William K. Wimsatt. Several years later, Bloom dedicated his first major book, The Anxiety of Influence, to Wimsatt.
Bloom has been a member of the Yale English Department since 1955. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1985. From 1988 to 2004, Bloom was Berg Professor of English at New York University while maintaining his position at Yale. In 2010, he became a founding patron of Ralston College, a new institution in Savannah, Georgia, that focuses on primary texts.
Bloom married Jeanne Gould in 1958. In a 2005 interview his wife said that she regarded him and herself as both atheists while he denied being an atheist saying "No, no I'm not an atheist. It's no fun being an atheist."
Bloom began his career with a sequence of highly regarded monographs on Percy Bysshe Shelley (Shelley's Myth-making, Yale University Press, originally Bloom's doctoral dissertation), W. B. Yeats, (Yeats, Oxford University Press), and Wallace Stevens, (Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate, Cornell University Press). In these, he defended the High Romantics against neo-Christian critics influenced by such writers as T. S. Eliot, who became a recurring intellectual foil. Bloom had a contentious approach: his first book, Shelley's Myth-making, charged many contemporary critics with sheer carelessness in their reading of the poet.
After a personal crisis in the late sixties, Bloom became deeply interested in Emerson, Sigmund Freud, and the ancient mystic traditions of Gnosticism, Kabbalah, and Hermeticism. In a 2003 interview with Bloom, Michael Pakenham, the book editor for The Baltimore Sun, writes that Bloom has long referred to himself as a "Jewish Gnostic". Bloom explains: "I am using Gnostic in a very broad way. I am nothing if not Jewish... I really am a product of Yiddish culture. But I can't understand a Yahweh, or a God, who could be all-powerful and all knowing and would allow the Nazi death camps and schizophrenia." Influenced by his reading, he began a series of books that focused on the way in which poets struggled to create their own individual poetic visions without being overcome by the influence of the previous poets who inspired them to write.
The first of these books, Yeats, a magisterial examination of the poet, challenged the conventional critical view of his poetic career. In the introduction to this volume, Bloom set out the basic principles of his new approach to criticism: "Poetic influence, as I conceive it, is a variety of melancholy or the anxiety-principle." A new poet becomes inspired to write because he has read and admired the poetry of previous poets; but this admiration turns into resentment when the new poet discovers that these poets whom he idolized have already said everything he wishes to say. The poet becomes disappointed because he "cannot be Adam early in the morning. There have been too many Adams, and they have named everything."
In order to evade this psychological obstacle, the new poet must convince himself that previous poets have gone wrong somewhere and failed in their vision, thus leaving open the possibility that he may have something to add to the tradition after all. The new poet's love for his heroes turns into antagonism towards them: "Initial love for the precursor's poetry is transformed rapidly enough into revisionary strife, without which individuation is not possible." The book that followed Yeats, The Anxiety of Influence, which Bloom had started writing in 1967, drew upon the example of Walter Jackson Bate's The Burden of the Past and The English Poet and recast in systematic psychoanalytic form Bate's historicized account of the despair felt by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century poets about their ability to match the achievements of their predecessors. Bloom attempted to trace the psychological process by which a poet broke free from his precursors to achieve his own poetic vision. He drew a sharp distinction between "strong poets" who perform "strong misreadings" of their precursors, and "weak poets" who simply repeat the ideas of their precursors as though following a kind of doctrine. He described this process in terms of a sequence of "revisionary ratios," through which each strong poet passes in the course of his career.
A Map of Misreading picked up where The Anxiety of Influence left off, making several adjustments to Bloom's system of revisionary ratios. Kabbalah and Criticism attempted to invoke the esoteric interpretive system of the Lurianic Kabbalah, as explicated by scholar Gershom Scholem, as an alternate system of mapping the path of poetic influence. Figures of Capable Imagination collected odd pieces Bloom had written in the process of composing his 'influence' books.
Bloom continued to write about influence theory throughout the seventies and eighties, and he has written little since that does not invoke his ideas about influence.
Bloom's fascination with the fantasy novel A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay led him to take a brief break from criticism in order to compose a sequel to Lindsay's novel. This novel, The Flight to Lucifer, remains Bloom's only work of fiction.
Bloom then entered a phase of what he called "religious criticism", beginning in 1989 with Ruin the Sacred Truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present.
In The Book of J (1990), he and David Rosenberg (who translated the Biblical texts) portrayed one of the posited ancient documents that formed the basis of the first five books of the bible (see documentary hypothesis) as the work of a great literary artist who had no intention of composing a dogmatically religious work (see Jahwist). They further envisaged this anonymous writer as a woman attached to the court of the successors of the Israelite kings David and Solomon—a piece of speculation which drew much attention. Later, Bloom said that the speculations didn't go far enough, and perhaps he should have identified J with the Biblical Bathsheba. In Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine (2004), he revisits some of the territory he covered in The Book of J in discussing the significance of Yahweh and Jesus of Nazareth as literary characters, while casting a critical eye on historical approaches and asserting the fundamental incompatibility of Christianity and Judaism.
In The American Religion (1992), Bloom surveyed the major varieties of Protestant and post-Protestant religious faiths that originated in the United States and argued that, in terms of their psychological hold on their adherents, most shared more in common with gnosticism than with historical Christianity. The exception was the Jehovah's Witnesses, whom Bloom regards as non-Gnostic. He elsewhere predicted that the Mormon and Pentecostal strains of American Christianity would overtake mainstream Protestant divisions in popularity in the next few decades. In Omens of Millennium (1996), Bloom identifies these American religious elements as on the periphery of an old – and not inherently Christian – gnostic, religious tradition which invokes a complex of ideas and experiences concerning angelology, interpretation of dreams as prophecy, near-death experiences, and millennialism.
In his essay in The Gospel of Thomas, Bloom states that none of Thomas' Aramaic sayings have survived to this day in the original language. Marvin Meyer generally agreed and further confirmed that the earlier versions of that text were likely written in either Aramaic or Greek. Meyer ends his introduction with an endorsement of much of Bloom's essay. Bloom notes the other-worldliness of the Jesus in the Thomas sayings by making reference to "the paradox also of the American Jesus."
In 1994, Bloom published The Western Canon, a survey of the major literary works of Europe and the Americas since the 14th century, focusing on 26 works he considered sublime and representative of their nations and of the Western canon. Besides analyses of the canon's various representative works, the major concern of the volume is reclaiming literature from those he refers to as the "School of Resentment", the mostly academic critics who espouse a social purpose in reading. Bloom believes that the goals of reading must be solitary aesthetic pleasure and self-insight rather than the goal held by "forces of resentment" of improving one's society, which he casts as an absurd aim, writing: "The idea that you benefit the insulted and injured by reading someone of their own origins rather than reading Shakespeare is one of the oddest illusions ever promoted by or in our schools." His position is that politics have no place in literary criticism: a feminist or Marxist reading of Hamlet would tell us something about feminism and Marxism, he says, but probably nothing about Hamlet itself.
In addition to considering how much influence a writer has had on later writers, Bloom proposed the concept of "canonical strangeness" (cf. uncanny) as a benchmark of a literary work's merit. The Western Canon also included a list—which aroused more widespread interest than anything else in the volume—of all the Western works from antiquity to the present that Bloom considered either permanent members of the canon of literary classics, or (among more recent works) candidates for that status. Bloom has said that he made the list off the top of his head at his editor's request, and that he does not stand by it.
Bloom has a deep appreciation for Shakespeare and considers him to be the supreme center of the Western canon. The first edition of The Anxiety of Influence almost completely avoided Shakespeare, whom Bloom considered, at the time, barely touched by the psychological drama of anxiety. The second edition, published in 1997, adds a long preface that mostly expounds on Shakespeare's debt to Ovid and Chaucer, and his agon with his contemporary Christopher Marlowe, who set the stage for him by breaking free of ecclesiastical and moralizing overtones.
In his 1998 survey, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Bloom provides an analysis of each of Shakespeare's 38 plays, "twenty-four of which are masterpieces." Written as a companion to the general reader and theatergoer, Bloom declares that bardolatry "ought to be even more a secular religion than it already is." He also contends in the work (as in the title) that Shakespeare "invented" humanity, in that he prescribed the now-common practice of "overhearing" ourselves, which drives our changes. The two paragons of his theory are Sir John Falstaff of Henry IV and Hamlet, whom Bloom sees as representing self-satisfaction and self-loathing, respectively. Throughout Shakespeare, characters from disparate plays are imagined alongside and interacting with each other; this has been decried by numerous contemporary academics and critics as hearkening back to the out of fashion character criticism of A. C. Bradley and others, who happen to gather explicit praise in the book. As in The Western Canon, Bloom criticizes what he calls the "School of Resentment" for its failure to live up to the challenge of Shakespeare's universality and instead balkanizing the study of literature through various multicultural and historicist departments. Asserting Shakespeare's singular popularity throughout the world, Bloom proclaims him as the only multicultural author, and rather than the "social energies" historicists ascribe Shakespeare's authorship to, Bloom pronounces his modern academic foes – and indeed, all of society – to be "a parody of Shakespearian energies."
Bloom consolidated his work on the western canon with the publication of How to Read and Why in 2000 and Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds in 2003. In the same year, Hamlet: Poem Unlimited was published, an amendment to Shakespeare: Invention of the Human written after he decided the chapter on Hamlet in that earlier book had been too focused on the textual question of the Ur-Hamlet to cover his most central thoughts on the play itself. Some elements of religious criticism were combined with his secular criticism in Where Shall Wisdom Be Found (2004), and a more complete return to religious criticism was marked by the publication of Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine in 2005. Throughout the decade he also compiled, edited and introduced several major anthologies of poetry.
In 2006, Bloom took part in the documentary, the Apparition of the Eternal Church, made by Paul Festa. This documentary centered on many individuals's reactions to hearing, for the first time, the renowned piece for organ, the Apparition de l'église éternelle, of Olivier Messiaen.
Bloom began a book under the working title of Living Labyrinth, centering on Shakespeare and Whitman, which was published in 2011 as The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life.
In July 2011, after the publication of The Anatomy of Influence and after finishing work on The Shadow of a Great Rock, Bloom was working on three further projects:
In 1986, Bloom credited Northrop Frye as his nearest precursor. He told Imre Salusinszky in 1986: "In terms of my own theorizations ... the precursor proper has to be Northrop Frye. I purchased and read Fearful Symmetry a week or two after it had come out and reached the bookstore in Ithaca, New York. It ravished my heart away. I have tried to find an alternative father in Mr. Kenneth Burke, who is a charming fellow and a very powerful critic, but I don't come from Burke, I come out of Frye."
However, in his 2011 Anatomy of Influence, he wrote "I no longer have the patience to read anything by Frye" and nominated Angus Fletcher among his living contemporaries as his "critical guide and conscience" and elsewhere that year recommended Fletcher's Colors of the Mind and The Mirror and the Lamp by M. H. Abrams. In this latter phase of his career, Bloom has also emphasized the tradition of earlier critics such as William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walter Pater, A. C. Bradley, and Samuel Johnson, describing Johnson in The Western Canon as "unmatched by any critic in any nation before or after him". In his 2012 Foreword to the book The Fourth Dimension of a Poem (WW Norton, 2012), Bloom indicated the influence which M. H. Abrams had upon him in his years at Cornell University.
Bloom's theory of poetic influence regards the development of Western literature as a process of borrowing and misreading. Writers find their creative inspiration in previous writers and begin by imitating those writers in order to develop a poetic voice of their own; however, they must make their own work different from that of their precursors. As a result, Bloom argues, authors of real power must inevitably "misread" their precursors' works in order to make room for fresh imaginings.
Observers often identified Bloom with deconstruction in the past, but he himself never admitted to sharing more than a few ideas with the deconstructionists. He told Robert Moynihan in 1983, "What I think I have in common with the school of deconstruction is the mode of negative thinking or negative awareness, in the technical, philosophical sense of the negative, but which comes to me through negative theology ... There is no escape, there is simply the given, and there is nothing that we can do."
Bloom's association with the Western canon has provoked a substantial interest in his opinion concerning the relative importance of contemporary writers. In the late 1980s, Bloom told an interviewer: "Probably the most powerful living Western writer is Samuel Beckett. He's certainly the most authentic."
After Beckett's death in 1989, Bloom has pointed towards other authors as the new main figures of the Western literary canon.
Concerning British writers: "Geoffrey Hill is the strongest British poet now active", and "no other contemporary British novelist seems to me to be of Iris Murdoch's eminence". Since Murdoch's death, Bloom has expressed admiration for novelists such as Peter Ackroyd, Will Self, John Banville, and A. S. Byatt.
In his 2003 book, Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds, he named the Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner José Saramago as "the most gifted novelist alive in the world today", and as "one of the last titans of an expiring literary genre".
Of American novelists, he declared in 2003 that "there are four living American novelists I know of who are still at work and who deserve our praise". He claimed that "they write the Style of our Age, each has composed canonical works," and he identified them as Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, and Don DeLillo. He named their strongest works as, respectively, Gravity's Rainbow, The Crying of Lot 49 and Mason & Dixon; American Pastoral and Sabbath's Theater; Blood Meridian; and Underworld. He has added to this estimate the work of John Crowley, with special interest in his Aegypt Sequence and novel Little, Big saying that "only a handful of living writers in English can equal him as a stylist, and most of them are poets ... only Philip Roth consistently writes on Crowley's level".
In Kabbalah and Criticism (1975), Bloom identified Robert Penn Warren, James Merrill, John Ashbery, and Elizabeth Bishop as the most important living American poets. By the 1990s, he regularly named A.R. Ammons along with Ashbery and Merrill, and he has lately come to identify Henri Cole as the crucial American poet of the generation following those three. He has expressed great admiration for the Canadian poets Anne Carson, particularly her verse novel Autobiography of Red, and A. F. Moritz, whom Bloom calls "a true poet." Bloom also lists Jay Wright as one of only a handful of major living poets.
Bloom's introduction to Modern Critical Interpretations: Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1986) features his canon of the "twentieth-century American Sublime", the greatest works of American art produced in the 20th century. Playwright Tony Kushner sees Bloom as an important influence on his work.
For many years, Bloom's writings have drawn polarized responses, even among established literary scholars. Bloom has been called "probably the most celebrated literary critic in the United States" and "America's best-known man of letters". A New York Times article in 1994 said that many younger critics understand Bloom as an "outdated oddity," whereas a 1998 New York Times article called him "one of the most gifted of contemporary critics."
James Wood has described Bloom as "Vatic, repetitious, imprecisely reverential, though never without a peculiar charm of his own—a kind of campiness, in fact—Bloom as a literary critic in the last few years has been largely unimportant." Bloom responded to questions about Wood in an interview by saying: "There are period pieces in criticism as there are period pieces in the novel and in poetry. The wind blows and they will go away ... There's nothing to the man ... I don't want to talk about him".
In the early 21st century, Bloom has often found himself at the center of literary controversy after criticizing popular writers such as Adrienne Rich, Maya Angelou, and David Foster Wallace. In the pages of the Paris Review, he criticized the populist-leaning poetry slam, saying: "It is the death of art." When Doris Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, he bemoaned the "pure political correctness" of the award to an author of "fourth-rate science fiction."
In 2004 author Naomi Wolf wrote an article for New York Magazine accusing Harold Bloom of a sexual "encroachment" more than two decades earlier, by touching her thigh. She said that what she alleged Bloom did was not harassment, either legally or emotionally, and she did not think herself a "victim", but that she had harbored this secret for 21 years. Explaining why she had finally gone public with the charges, Wolf wrote, "I began, nearly a year ago, to try—privately—to start a conversation with my alma mater that would reassure me that steps had been taken in the ensuing years to ensure that unwanted sexual advances of this sort weren't still occurring. I expected Yale to be responsive. After nine months and many calls and e-mails, I was shocked to conclude that the atmosphere of collusion that had helped to keep me quiet twenty years ago was still intact—as secretive as a Masonic lodge." When asked about the allegations in 2015, Bloom stated, "I refuse to even use the name of this person. I call her Dracula's daughter, because her father was a Dracula scholar. I have never in my life been indoors with Dracula's daughter. When she came to the door of my house unbidden, my youngest son turned her away. Once, I was walking up to campus, and she fell in with me and said, 'May I walk with you, Professor Bloom?' I said nothing."
MormonVoices, a group associated with Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research, included Bloom on its Top Ten Anti-Mormon Statements of 2011 list for stating "The current head of the Mormon Church, Thomas S. Monson, known to his followers as 'prophet, seer and revelator,' is indistinguishable from the secular plutocratic oligarchs who exercise power in our supposed democracy".
There are a few affinities, except perhaps with the admirable Antonia Byatt, in the generation after: novelists I also now admire, like Will Self, Peter Ackroyd, and John Banville.
Aestheticism (also the Aesthetic Movement) is an intellectual and art movement supporting the emphasis of aesthetic values more than social-political themes for literature, fine art, music and other arts. This meant that art from this particular movement focused more on being beautiful rather than having a deeper meaning — "art for art's sake". It was particularly prominent in Europe during the 19th century, supported by notable figures such as Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde, but contemporary critics are also associated with the movement, such as Harold Bloom, who has recently argued against projecting social and political ideology onto literary works, which he believes has been a growing problem in humanities departments over the 20th century.In the 19th century, it was related to other movements such as symbolism or decadence represented in France, or decadentismo represented in Italy, and may be considered the British version of the same style.Bardolatry
Bardolatry is the worship, particularly when considered excessive, of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has been known as "the Bard" since the eighteenth century. One who idolizes Shakespeare is known as a Bardolator.
The term Bardolatry, derived from Shakespeare's sobriquet "the Bard of Avon" and the Greek word latria "worship" (as in idolatry, worship of idols), was coined by George Bernard Shaw in the preface to his collection Three Plays for Puritans published in 1901. Shaw professed to dislike Shakespeare as a thinker and philosopher because the latter did not engage with social problems, as did Shaw in his own plays.Dreamtigers
Dreamtigers, first published in 1960 as El Hacedor ("The Maker"), is a collection of poems, short essays, and literary sketches by the Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. Divided fairly evenly between prose and verse, the collection examines the limitations of creativity. Borges regarded Dreamtigers as his most personal work. In the view of Mortimer Adler, editor of the Great Books of the Western World series, the collection was a masterpiece of 20th century literature. Literary critic Harold Bloom includes it in his Western Canon.
The original Spanish title refers to the Scots word makar, meaning "poet".Infobase Publishing
Infobase Publishing is an American publisher of reference book titles and textbooks geared towards the North American library, secondary school, and university-level curriculum markets. Infobase operates a number of prominent imprints, including Facts On File, Films for the Humanities & Sciences, Cambridge Educational, Chelsea House (which also serves as the imprint for the special collection series, "Bloom's Literary Criticism" under the direction of literary critic Harold Bloom), and Ferguson Publishing.Ironweed (novel)
Ironweed is a 1983 novel by William Kennedy. It received the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is the third book in Kennedy's Albany Cycle. It placed at number ninety-two on the Modern Library list of the 100 Best Novels written in English in the 20th Century and is also included in the Western Canon of the critic Harold Bloom.John Crowley (author)
John Crowley (born December 1, 1942) is an American author of fantasy, science fiction and mainstream fiction. He studied at Indiana University and has a second career as a documentary film writer.
He is best known as the author of Little, Big (1981), which received the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and has been called "a neglected masterpiece" by Harold Bloom, and his Ægypt series of novels which revolve around the same themes of Hermeticism, memory, families and religion.
Crowley wrote the bi-monthly "Easy Chair" essay in Harper's Magazine for a year; his last column appeared in the February 2016 issue.Leontes
King Leontes is a fictional character in Shakespeare's play The Winter's Tale. He is the father of Mammilius and husband to Queen Hermione. He becomes obsessed with the belief that his wife has been having an affair with Polixenes, his childhood friend and King of Bohemia. Because of this, he tries to have his friend poisoned, has his wife imprisoned, and orders his infant daughter to be cast out. The daughter, Perdita, survives nonetheless when she is discovered in her basket on the coast of Bohemia by shepherds who adopt and raise her. His young son dies of grief at his mother's plight, and Hermione faints on hearing the news and is reported dead. Leontes comes to understand his faults, and is filled with remorse for his ill-treatment of his Queen. At the end of the play, he is reunited with daughter and his wife, who returns from death in the play's mysterious finale.
Literary critic Harold Bloom has called Leontes Shakespeare's finest representation of jealousy of the male heart. Shakespeare's portrayal is debatable, as he is viewed as a jealous tyrant, in many ways a true villain, though there is also a commonly held view that Shakespeare purposefully wanted to present a childish, flippant man.Actors who have given notable performances as Leontes include Johnston Forbes-Robertson, Henry Ainley, John Gielgud, Jeremy Irons, Patrick Stewart and Antony Sher.Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park is the third published novel by Jane Austen, first published in 1814 by Thomas Egerton. A second edition was published in 1816 by John Murray, still within Austen's lifetime. The novel did not receive any public reviews until 1821.
The novel tells the story of Fanny Price, starting when her overburdened, impoverished family sends her at age ten to live in the household of her wealthy aunt and uncle; it follows her development and concludes in early adulthood.
From the late 20th century onward, critical reception has been diverse and Mansfield Park is now considered Austen's most controversial novel. In recent decades, historical context and allusions have featured prominently in criticism as has a growing awareness of Austen's sophisticated psychological characterisations.
Two notable film versions of the novel were released: Frances O'Connor starring in the lead role in the 1999 version co-starring Jonny Lee Miller and followed by Billie Piper starring in the 2007 version for ITV1 co-starring Blake Ritson.Raritan (journal)
Raritan is a literary and intellectual quarterly that publishes poetry, fiction and essays. The journal is based at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The magazine was founded by Richard Poirier in 1981 and is currently edited by Jackson Lears. Lears began to edit it in 2002.Notable writers who have contributed to this journal include Jacob M. Appel, Harold Bloom, David Bromwich, Anne Carson, Robert Coles, William C. Dowling, David Ferry, Harry Frankfurt, George Kateb, Frank Kermode, Joyce Carol Oates, Adam Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Richard Posner, Richard Rorty, Edward Said, Frederick Seidel, Vikram Seth, Daniel Stern, and Michael Wood.Subtropics (journal)
Subtropics is an American literary journal based at the University of Florida in Gainesville.Works originally published in Subtropics have been subsequently selected for inclusion in the Best American Poetry, The Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, New Stories from the Midwest, New Stories from the South, the O. Henry Prize anthology, and the Pushcart Prize anthology.
Notable writers who have contributed to this journal include Seth Abramson, Steve Almond, Chris Bachelder, John Barth, Harold Bloom, Peter Cameron, Anne Carson, Billy Collins, Martha Collins, Mark Doty, Lauren Groff, Allan Gurganus, Amy Hempel, Bob Hicok, Roy Kesey, J. M. G. Le Clézio, Les Murray, Edna O'Brien, Lucia Perillo, D. A. Powell, Padgett Powell, A. E. Stallings, Olga Slavnikova, Ben Sonnenberg, Peter Stamm, Terese Svoboda, and Paul Theroux.The American Religion
The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (1992; second edition 2006) is a book by literary critic Harold Bloom, in which the author covers the topic of religion in the United States from a perspective which he calls religious criticism. Religious denominations Bloom discusses include The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Christian Science, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Southern Baptist Convention.The Anxiety of Influence
The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry is a 1973 book by Harold Bloom. It was the first in a series of books that advanced a new "revisionary" or antithetical approach to literary criticism. Bloom's central thesis is that poets are hindered in their creative process by the ambiguous relationship they necessarily maintained with precursor poets. While admitting the influence of extraliterary experience on every poet, he argues that "the poet in a poet" is inspired to write by reading another poet's poetry and will tend to produce work that is in danger of being derivative of existing poetry, and, therefore, weak. Because poets historically emphasize an original poetic vision in order to guarantee their survival into posterity (i.e., to guarantee that future readers will not allow them to be forgotten), the influence of precursor poets inspires a sense of anxiety in living poets. Thus Bloom attempts to work out the process by which the small minority of 'strong' poets manage to create original work in spite of the pressure of influence. Such an agon, Bloom argues, depends on six revisionary ratios, which reflect Freudian and quasi-Freudian defense mechanisms, as well as the tropes of classical rhetoric.
Before writing this book, Bloom spent a decade studying the Romantic poets of the early nineteenth century. This is reflected in the emphasis given to those poets and their struggle with the influence of John Milton, Robert Browning, and Edmund Spenser. Other poets analyzed range from Lucretius and Dante to Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, and John Ashbery. In The Anxiety of Influence and other early books, Bloom claimed that influence was particularly important for post-enlightenment poets. Conversely, he suggested that influence might have been less of a problem for such poets as Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. Bloom since has changed his mind, and the most recent editions of The Anxiety of Influence include a preface claiming that Shakespeare was troubled early in his career by the influence of Christopher Marlowe. The book itself is divided into six major categories, called "six revisionary ratios" by Bloom. They are clinamen, tessera, kenosis, daemonization, askesis, and apophrades.The Death of the Hired Man
"The Death of the Hired Man" is a poem by Robert Frost. Although it was first published in 1914 with other Frost poetry in the North of Boston collection, critic Harold Bloom notes that the poem was written in 1905 or 1906.The Invention of Love
The Invention of Love is a 1997 play by Tom Stoppard portraying the life of poet A. E. Housman, focusing specifically on his personal life and love for a college classmate. The play is written from the viewpoint of Housman, dealing with his memories at the end of his life, and contains many classical allusions. The Invention of Love won both the Evening Standard Award (U.K.) and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award (U.S.)
Considered by many to be Stoppard's finest play, it has been called "esoteric". In fact, to demystify the play's many historical and academic references, the New York production team provided the audiences with a 30-page booklet on the political and artistic history of the late-Victorian period. Harold Bloom, a scholar of Walter Pater, contends that the character of Housman and those in his circle are fabulated for dramatic effect, and the play's difficulties are not historical but its own. This clarified, he cited it in 2003 as Stoppard's "masterpiece to date".The Oven Bird
"The Oven Bird" is a 1916 poem by Robert Frost, first published in Mountain Interval. The poem is written in sonnet form and describes an ovenbird singing.
It has been described as a quintessential Frost poem. Several Frost biographers and critics have interpreted the poem as autobiographical. Harold Bloom argues that the bird in Frost is "at best a compromised figure" who learns in singing not to sing.The Wanderings of Oisin
The Wanderings of Oisin ( oh-SHEEN) is an epic poem published by William Butler Yeats in 1889 in the book The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems. It was his first publication outside magazines, and immediately won him a reputation as a significant poet. This narrative poem takes the form of a dialogue between the aged Irish hero Oisín and St. Patrick, the man traditionally responsible for converting Ireland to Christianity. Most of the poem is spoken by Oisin, relating his three-hundred year sojourn in the isles of Faerie. Oisin has not been a popular poem with critics influenced by modernism, who dislike its pre-Raphaelite character. However, Harold Bloom defended this poem in his book-length study of Yeats, and concludes that it deserves reconsideration.Un Poco Loco
"Un Poco Loco" (English translation: "A Little Crazy") is a composition by American jazz pianist and composer Bud Powell. The piece was first recorded during a Blue Note session on May 1, 1951, with Powell on piano, Curly Russell on bass, and Max Roach on drums. The literary critic Harold Bloom included this performance on his short list of the greatest works of twentieth-century American art.
The album The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume One includes his entire May 1, 1951 session, including the master take of "Un Poco Loco" and two alternate takes.Zuckerman Bound
Zuckerman Bound is a trilogy of novels by Philip Roth, originally published in 1985.