BLOOM, HAROLD


BLOOM, HAROLD
BLOOM, HAROLD (1930– ), U.S. literary critic. Born to Yiddish-speaking parents in New York City, Bloom taught at Yale from 1955. An authority on Romantic and Victorian poetry, he wrote lengthy studies of Shelley, Blake, and Yeats. Bloom's most significant critical works, including The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry (1973), A Map of Misreading (1975), and Agon: Towards a Theory of Revisionism (1982), explore the issue of influence, asserting that poetic creativity involves an Oedipal struggle between a writer and the great poetic figures of the past. All would-be artists, Bloom asserts, experience the anxiety that the great works have already been written; to deal with this anxiety of belatedness, they misread their precursor's work in order to find space at the poetic table. Bloom has applied this model to religious and Jewish texts. In Ruin the Sacred Truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present (1989), he argues that the Hebrew Bible contains a power and sublimity that permeates all of the best of Western literature. In The Book of J (1990), for which he wrote the introduction and commentary, Bloom argues that the J or Yahwist author of earliest elements of the Torah – actually a woman attached to the court of the Israelite successor king to Solomon – was writing an ironic literary critique of the dogmatic, patriarchal religion of her time. Bloom spoke of himself as a "Jewish Gnostic." He delved into Gnosticism and Kabbalah's influences on American spiritual practices in The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (1992) and Omens of Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection (1996), and in Kabbalah and Criticism (1975) he uses Kabbalah as a model for contemporary literary criticism. With The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (1994), Bloom aroused widespread interest and controversy, entering into the heart of the American culture wars occurring between those arguing for a multicultural curriculum and those arguing for a return to the Western canon. Many in the press viewed Bloom as the keeper of the canon, asking for his opinions about which contemporary authors did or did not belong in the canon. The more interesting aspect of the work was Bloom's adoption of an organizing principle for literary history based on the 18th-century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico's cyclical theory of history. Bloom went on to predict the imminent arrival of a new Theocratic Age, possibly Islamic. Mourning the death of reading and attacking what he coined the School of Resentment – the Marxist, feminist, multiculturalist, and historicist schools of criticism, which he characterizes as too focused on a social agenda – for diminishing literature, he argued for the primacy of Shakespeare and Dante, arguing that "the Western Canon is Shakespeare and Dante. Beyond them, it is what they absorbed and what absorbed them." Bloom's celebration of Shakespeare, the J author of the Bible, and other canonical writers continued in later works of popular criticism, including Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human (1998), in which he argues that our modern sense of the psychologically complex human originated with Shakespeare, How to Read and Why (2000), and Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? (2004). (Craig Svonkin (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bloom,Harold — Bloom (blo͞om), Harold. Born 1930. American literary theorist and scholar whose works include The Anxiety of Influence (1972). * * * …   Universalium

  • Bloom, Harold — born July 11, 1930, New York, N.Y., U.S. U.S. literary critic. Bloom studied at Cornell and Yale universities and taught at Yale from 1955. In The Anxiety of Influence (1973) and A Map of Misreading (1975) he suggested that poetry results from… …   Universalium

  • Bloom, Harold — (b. 1930)    American educator, editor and literary critic. Bloom was born in New York. He was educated at Cornell and Yale Universities and he now teaches at Yale. He is a prolific editor among whose many works include the 33 volume anthology,… …   Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament

  • Bloom, Harold — (n. 11 jul. 1930, Nueva York, N.Y., EE.UU.). Crítico literario estadounidense. Bloom estudió en las universidades de Cornell y Yale, y enseñó en esta última a partir de 1955. En sus obras La angustia de las influencias (1973) y A Map of… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bloom, Harold — (b. 1930)    American literary critic and editor. He was born in New York and taught at Yale. In his literary work he has been influ enced by the kabbalah and by Martin Buber. His publications include Kabbalah and Criticism, Poetry and Repression …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Harold Bloom — Nacimiento 11 de julio de 1930 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Harold Bloom — (* 11. Juli 1930 in New York City) ist ein amerikanischer Literaturwissenschaftler und kritiker. Er ist vor allem für seine Ablehnung marxistischer, feministischer und postkolonialer Literaturtheorie bekannt und erlangte im Laufe der in den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Harold Jack Bloom — Infobox Actor name = Harold Jack Bloom imagesize = caption = birthname = birthdate = birth date|1924|4|26|mf=y birthplace = deathdate = death date and age|1999|8|27|1924|4|24|mf=y deathplace = Los Angeles, California othername = Harold Bloom… …   Wikipedia

  • Harold Bloom — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bloom. Harold Bloom (né en 11 juillet 1930 à New York) est un critique littéraire et un professeur américain. Il a notamment défendu les poètes du XIXe siècle à une époque où ils étaient méconnus.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Harold — /har euhld/, n. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Alexander Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander 1st Earl Arlen Harold Barton Sir Derek Harold Richard Bloom Harold Clurman Harold Edgar Crane Harold Hart James Harold Doolittle… …   Universalium


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