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Harold Bloom on the School of Resentment
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From Wikipedia:

School of Resentment

School of Resentment is a term coined by critic Harold Bloom to describe related schools of literary criticism which have gained prominence in academia since the 1970s and which Bloom contends are preoccupied with political and social activism at the expense of aesthetic values.[1]

Broadly, Bloom terms “Schools of Resentment” approaches associated with Marxist critical theory, including African American studies, Marxist literary criticism, New Historicist criticism, feminist criticism, and poststructuralism—specifically as promoted by Jacques Lacan, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault. The School of Resentment is usually defined as all scholars who wish to enlarge the Western canon by adding to it more works by authors from minority groups without regard to aesthetic merit and/or influence over time, or those who argue that some works commonly thought canonical promote sexist, racist or otherwise biased values and should therefore be removed from the canon.

Bloom outlines the term “School of Resentment” in the introduction to his book The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (1994). Bloom stresses that he does not necessarily object to analysis and discussion of social and political issues in literature, but expresses indignation toward college literature professors who teach their own political motives through literature more than the aesthetics of literary worth. In his book, Bloom defends the Western canon of literature from this “School of Resentment”, which in his view threatens to break down the canon through the insertion of potentially inferior literary works for political purposes. Bloom believes that the goals of reading must be solitary aesthetic pleasure and self-insight rather than the “forces of resentment” or a goal of “improving” one’s society, which he casts as an absurd aim, writing…

In a 2015 interview, art critic and dissident feminist Camille Paglia defended Bloom—who was her mentor during her studies at Yale University—and said that literary canons are meant to come not from professors’ wishes to “intensify their power” but from careful evaluations of which literary works have proven most influential over time. Paglia further argued that the introduction of politics into literary criticism (e.g., the view that no book which demeans women can be great literature) can enable a dangerous and Stalinist view of art wherein all art is “subordinate to a prefab political agenda”.[4]

But perhaps in the future, with the triumph of the School of Resentment, Professors of English Literature will stop talking about books altogether and just talk about subjects closer to their main interests, such as clothes, makeup, and their hair.

 
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  1. Ironically, this already happens in Japan. 90% of the “English literature” majors in Japanese universities don’t read English books, or maybe only some excerpts or a few books here and there. They study “about” Eng lit instead. This is a model for the future of literary criticism–don’t read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There’s a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    • Replies: @anon
    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn't read novels, just criticism, because it's more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.
    , @Cagey Beast
    This is a model for the future of literary criticism–don’t read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There’s a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    E. M. Forster's The Machine Stops springs to mind:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Machine_Stops

    , @Jim Bob Lassiter
    Somebody will have to keep Cliff's Notes in business.
    , @SFG
    Not nearly scary enough to the general public. I think as a niche book it genuinely has potential.

    Death of literature? Already been done, Farenheit 451.
    , @ThreeCranes
    Isn't that why, formerly, our professors incessantly hammered home the notion of "original sources" in our reading lists? We were instructed not to read commentary until we had read the original--except for Hegel who was unintelligible even after reading all the secondary sources.

    It does make one wonder whether the students who squawk about this stuff ever read what it is they loathe so much. Wonder if, in fact, they deride and berate it precisely to avoid having to dig in and digest it. So much easier to dismiss it as contemptible.

    You can't help but wonder too if this is related to the general lowering of admission standards to American universities. It may be that today's crop of students are simply incapable of handling the material that comprises the core of Western thinking. If they're unwilling to own their own inability--and who isn't--then tossing their feces at it is all they've got.
    , @peterike

    This is a model for the future of literary criticism–don’t read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them.

     

    I had a professor in grad school who openly stated that the criticism is more important than the literature. Of course, he was one of those deconstructionists, happily tearing down the stale, pale male edifice of literature, and making sure we all knew that Matthew Arnold was a terrible writer and a worse person, and that T.S. Eliot was surely the most over-rated poet ever, because he was an intolerable old conservative.

    My main memory is that whatever work went into his critical sausage grinder came out sounding exactly the same: every piece of writing was about the act of writing. There's nothing outside the text, you see (except, apparently, T.S. Eliot's awful conservatism). Even a work as full of incident and period detail as "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" was, sure enough, about the act of writing, and he was able to make it seem dull.

    Should I mention he was very Jewish?
    , @Anon
    Good literary criticism is an art form in itself, and it can be a genuinely enjoyable read, but quite often the books they're jumping up and down over aren't that good at all. I've enjoyed good litcrit writers from Augustine Birrell to Lytton Strachey, but man, many of the books they liked are pretty dire reads today and don't hold up.

    Back in the day, I used to really enjoy James Mustich's blurbs for the books he was selling in his Common Reader catalogue, until I tried reading some of the books he praised so much only to discover that his tastes sucked.
  2. Bloom’s Western Canon book contains an excellent list in the appendix for anyone interested in achieving the education in the liberal arts of which you were deprived by that School of Resentment.

    • Agree: fish
    • Replies: @Sextus Empiricus
    I must read this book. And the books on his list...
    , @International Jew
    Fortunately, I got my formal education before the crazies took over. My condolences to you young'uns.
  3. A debate between Bloom and Paglia would be my kind of fun, though they’d likely agree more than disagree. Maybe throw Derrida in for some spice.

    Fortunately, these giants of a past age have left behind voluminous written works for future generations. Which reminds me: get the hard copy because Google & Co are busy erasing inconvenient narratives.

    Even the Wayback Machine is being cleansed, it turns out. It won’t completely surprise me if books–actual books–become valuable again just as vinyl records have.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    '...Even the Wayback Machine is being cleansed, it turns out. It won’t completely surprise me if books–actual books–become valuable again just as vinyl records have...'

    I collect the odd volume of particularly valuable thought-crime -- just so I can be sure I have it if it gets banned.
    , @TomSchmidt
    "Even the Wayback Machine is being cleansed, it turns out. It won’t completely surprise me if books–actual books–become valuable again just as vinyl records have."

    Do tell. You have a link?
  4. @Chrisnonymous
    Ironically, this already happens in Japan. 90% of the "English literature" majors in Japanese universities don't read English books, or maybe only some excerpts or a few books here and there. They study "about" Eng lit instead. This is a model for the future of literary criticism--don't read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There's a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn’t read novels, just criticism, because it’s more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I leaned toward that, but it's partly because I like argument and I'm a little wary of emotional engagement.
    , @PiltdownMan

    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn’t read novels, just criticism, because it’s more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.
     
    A lot of people think like that—which is the reason why The New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books have each enjoyed a steady subscriber base for decades.
    , @Cortes
    Try

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1143788.How_to_Talk_About_Books_You_Haven_t_Read
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
    LOL. First thought that came into my head. P.S. What about "Tommy"? Sounds more UC.
  5. @anon
    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn't read novels, just criticism, because it's more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.

    I leaned toward that, but it’s partly because I like argument and I’m a little wary of emotional engagement.

    • LOL: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    'I leaned toward that, but it’s partly because I like argument and I’m a little wary of emotional engagement.'

    That's another way of saying you're male.
    , @HammerJack

    I like argument and I’m a little wary of emotional engagement.
     
    That's so White Male that I can't even.
    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    I believe I was fortunate to end up in an undergrad English program that, by common faculty agreement, completely eschewed criticism until a senior year capstone course. I read nothing but primary texts for three and a half years.

    There's a lot to be said for this, I think. When you're a not-totally-confident undergrad, the weight of 'official' critical opinion on a poem or novel can be crushing, leaving not much room for a 'clean' reading of a text.
    , @Desiderius
    “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And, therefore, if a man writes little, he had needed have a great memory; if he confers little, he had need of a ready wit; and if he read little, he had need of much cunning to seem to know that he knoweth not”.

    - Bacon

    , @Anonymous
    Noel Gallagher's with you on this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/18/noel-gallagher-fiction-waste-time

    "I only read factual books. I can't think of ... I mean, novels are just a waste of fucking time," Gallagher told the writer Danny Wallace in an interview to mark his becoming GQ magazine's Icon of the Year. "I can't suspend belief in reality … I just end up thinking, 'This isn't fucking true'."

    The guitarist and songwriter went on to explain how he preferred reading "about things that have actually happened", citing Ernest R May's depiction of the White House during the Cuban missile crisis, The Kennedy Tapes, as the kind of book he can "get into".

    "I'm reading this book at the minute … Thinking, 'Wow, this actually fucking happened, they came that close to blowing the world up!'"
     
    , @Reg Cæsar
    At the other extreme, there was the legendary Ivy course "Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill", where first you had to read everything by Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill, followed by everything about Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill.
    , @anonymous
    In France it turned out the people who liked writing about movies were really good at making them
  6. @Chrisnonymous
    Ironically, this already happens in Japan. 90% of the "English literature" majors in Japanese universities don't read English books, or maybe only some excerpts or a few books here and there. They study "about" Eng lit instead. This is a model for the future of literary criticism--don't read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There's a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    This is a model for the future of literary criticism–don’t read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There’s a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    E. M. Forster’s The Machine Stops springs to mind:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Machine_Stops

  7. @Chrisnonymous
    Ironically, this already happens in Japan. 90% of the "English literature" majors in Japanese universities don't read English books, or maybe only some excerpts or a few books here and there. They study "about" Eng lit instead. This is a model for the future of literary criticism--don't read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There's a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    Somebody will have to keep Cliff’s Notes in business.

  8. Anon[427] • Disclaimer says:

    OT: The Brits are having enough another round of trying to get rid of Teresa May, but it looks to be about as tough as getting rid of Maduro. I have a theory that the reason May is clinging frantically to power is that she rigged the poisoning of the Skripals in an attempt to blame Russia, and once she’s gone, her successor may out her, and she’s terrified of this. I can’t imagine anyone destroying their own party over the issue of being in EU or not, and I’m convinced she has an ulterior reason for her bizarre behavior. The Brits lied so much about what happened to the Skripals that it’s made me look very suspiciously at May.

  9. @HammerJack
    A debate between Bloom and Paglia would be my kind of fun, though they'd likely agree more than disagree. Maybe throw Derrida in for some spice.

    Fortunately, these giants of a past age have left behind voluminous written works for future generations. Which reminds me: get the hard copy because Google & Co are busy erasing inconvenient narratives.

    Even the Wayback Machine is being cleansed, it turns out. It won't completely surprise me if books--actual books--become valuable again just as vinyl records have.

    ‘…Even the Wayback Machine is being cleansed, it turns out. It won’t completely surprise me if books–actual books–become valuable again just as vinyl records have…’

    I collect the odd volume of particularly valuable thought-crime — just so I can be sure I have it if it gets banned.

  10. @Steve Sailer
    I leaned toward that, but it's partly because I like argument and I'm a little wary of emotional engagement.

    ‘I leaned toward that, but it’s partly because I like argument and I’m a little wary of emotional engagement.’

    That’s another way of saying you’re male.

  11. @Desiderius
    Bloom’s Western Canon book contains an excellent list in the appendix for anyone interested in achieving the education in the liberal arts of which you were deprived by that School of Resentment.

    I must read this book. And the books on his list…

  12. There are also truly great little books, books that are as good as any ever written, books hidden away in little cubbyholes that will
    A. Never make it into the canon, and
    B. Never make it into the politically correct canon either.

    Some of them are for sale on Amazon. Buried amidst the flotsam and jetsam.

    Oh, dear, I’m so illiterate.

    • Replies: @Icy Blast
    With your last statement, I wholeheartedly agree.
    , @Anon
    I've read a whole string of obscure memoirs and travel books written in the 1800s by equally obscure names not taught in college and enjoyed the heck out of them. Academic fixation on fiction only is a real waste of time
  13. @Chrisnonymous
    Ironically, this already happens in Japan. 90% of the "English literature" majors in Japanese universities don't read English books, or maybe only some excerpts or a few books here and there. They study "about" Eng lit instead. This is a model for the future of literary criticism--don't read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There's a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    Not nearly scary enough to the general public. I think as a niche book it genuinely has potential.

    Death of literature? Already been done, Farenheit 451.

  14. @anon
    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn't read novels, just criticism, because it's more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.

    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn’t read novels, just criticism, because it’s more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.

    A lot of people think like that—which is the reason why The New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books have each enjoyed a steady subscriber base for decades.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
    There’s also the Times Literary Supplement. It and the London Review of books are (or were) excellent publications. When I worked for a large reference book publisher I had access to them. For a couple of years, I read a lot about books, but no books. I finally had to break the book review habit and start reading books again.
  15. @Steve Sailer
    I leaned toward that, but it's partly because I like argument and I'm a little wary of emotional engagement.

    I like argument and I’m a little wary of emotional engagement.

    That’s so White Male that I can’t even.

  16. @Steve Sailer
    I leaned toward that, but it's partly because I like argument and I'm a little wary of emotional engagement.

    I believe I was fortunate to end up in an undergrad English program that, by common faculty agreement, completely eschewed criticism until a senior year capstone course. I read nothing but primary texts for three and a half years.

    There’s a lot to be said for this, I think. When you’re a not-totally-confident undergrad, the weight of ‘official’ critical opinion on a poem or novel can be crushing, leaving not much room for a ‘clean’ reading of a text.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    You were given a gift there of inestimable price.
    , @Dtbb
    I really like those Norton Anthology books. I read Moby Dick, and without all the footnotes I never would have understood half of it. Then after finishing the text there are lots of critical essays from different eras
  17. OT
    Tubman out on Twenty Dollar bill. File under – “Who says there is no good news”
    “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sparked outrage from lawmakers after announcing that American hero Harriet Tubman will not appear on the $20 bill as planned for 2020.”

    • Replies: @Anon

    Tubman out on Twenty Dollar bill. File under – “Who says there is no good news”
    “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sparked outrage from lawmakers after announcing that American hero Harriet Tubman will not appear on the $20 bill as planned for 2020.”
     
    I may be too brainwashed by Scott Adams, but let me just throw out a prediction. Trump will let a head of steam build up on this, then will completely jujitsu it in some out-of-left-field way, just beore the election. I don't know who will be on the $20, but it will make his critics look silly.

    This is not going to happen, but for instance, Trump orders Treasury to put Oprah Winfrey on the $20. This violates a law, regulation, or "norm." A complete Twitter, cable news, and congressional shitstorm erupts. Everyone comes out looking like an idiot except Trump, and Trump has somehow managed to change the norm or law in the process. Maybe Oprah ends up on the bill, against her will perhaps, maybe a white guy, maybe Tubman with a rifle ends up. Whatever it is, every American will be carrying around little slips of Trump propaganda in his wallet.

    , @Art Deco
    I'd love it if Mnuchin announced a principle: no one gets on the currency unless they've governed something that meets a certain thresh-hold of institutional importance or founded something that grew into something of institutional importance in public life. Also, no one gets on the currency until 50 years have passed since their retirement.
    , @Anonymous
    Leave the paper money alone and put Marilyn Monroe on the dime to get rid of FDR.
  18. @The Last Real Calvinist
    I believe I was fortunate to end up in an undergrad English program that, by common faculty agreement, completely eschewed criticism until a senior year capstone course. I read nothing but primary texts for three and a half years.

    There's a lot to be said for this, I think. When you're a not-totally-confident undergrad, the weight of 'official' critical opinion on a poem or novel can be crushing, leaving not much room for a 'clean' reading of a text.

    You were given a gift there of inestimable price.

  19. Anon[396] • Disclaimer says:

    Here’s Bloom’s list:

    http://sonic.net/~rteeter/grtbloom.html

    I’d copy it here, but it’s really long, and Ron doesn’t give us enough comment formatting tools to keep the structure intact.

    Has he really read all these books?!

    Treasure Island makes the list. Dracula. Jane Eyre. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. All of Dickens. Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, et al., a couple of dozen of continental African works, Langston Hughes.

    It goes way beyond “The Canon,” in my opinion.

    • Replies: @Janus
    Bloom could supposedly read something like 1000 pages an hour with near photographic recall when he was younger. True or not, I can't say.
    , @Lot
    There are some real stinkers on that list.

    I figured out which old writers I like by the end of college, and haven’t much expanded the list.
    , @Pericles
    I think the 'canon' collapsed because it grew too long and unwieldy to be useful -- just look at Bloom's attempt -- but also because the fresh young professors and writers had to make their names somehow. And now I guess we don't have a canon anymore. Good work, young professors. How are the Buffy the Vampire Slayer studies coming along?
    , @Benjaminl
    For anyone who spends a lot of time commuting in a car, the "Great Books" podcast is a nice way to get a taste of some of the titles, and decide which, if any, to actually read:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/podcasts/the-great-books/


    Murray's Human Accomplishment list is a way to cross-check: Shakespeare, Goethe, Dante, Virgil, Homer...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Accomplishment#Western_literature
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/charles-murrays-human-accomplishment-database-is-now-online/
    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/cultures-bell-curve/


    The "Pantheon" database (derived from Wikipedia) is another way to cross-check the ratings on there:

    http://pantheon.media.mit.edu/rankings/people/all/HUMANITIES/-4000/2010/H15
    , @Prester John
    Major bummer, however, if one's tastes run towards history, philosophy, politics etc. and not so much in great literature. As a result, so much is missed. I read Don Quixote twice. The first time, when I was in high school, I found it downright funny and entertaining. The second time, many MANY years later when I was much older, I found it heartbreaking. Any work that can evoke two different forms of emotion over a period of 40 years or so deserves to be called a "masterpiece." And it's for sure that there are so many more such works out there that few if any of us will ever get the chance to read.
  20. @Steve Sailer
    I leaned toward that, but it's partly because I like argument and I'm a little wary of emotional engagement.

    “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man. And, therefore, if a man writes little, he had needed have a great memory; if he confers little, he had need of a ready wit; and if he read little, he had need of much cunning to seem to know that he knoweth not”.

    – Bacon

  21. Anon[396] • Disclaimer says:
    @Clyde
    OT
    Tubman out on Twenty Dollar bill. File under - "Who says there is no good news"
    "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sparked outrage from lawmakers after announcing that American hero Harriet Tubman will not appear on the $20 bill as planned for 2020."

    Tubman out on Twenty Dollar bill. File under – “Who says there is no good news”
    “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sparked outrage from lawmakers after announcing that American hero Harriet Tubman will not appear on the $20 bill as planned for 2020.”

    I may be too brainwashed by Scott Adams, but let me just throw out a prediction. Trump will let a head of steam build up on this, then will completely jujitsu it in some out-of-left-field way, just beore the election. I don’t know who will be on the $20, but it will make his critics look silly.

    This is not going to happen, but for instance, Trump orders Treasury to put Oprah Winfrey on the $20. This violates a law, regulation, or “norm.” A complete Twitter, cable news, and congressional shitstorm erupts. Everyone comes out looking like an idiot except Trump, and Trump has somehow managed to change the norm or law in the process. Maybe Oprah ends up on the bill, against her will perhaps, maybe a white guy, maybe Tubman with a rifle ends up. Whatever it is, every American will be carrying around little slips of Trump propaganda in his wallet.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    If the Donald only had my sense of humor, he'd announce, and exclaim thus:

    "Don't know about you boys, but I jes' loves me some flapjacks!"

    https://i.ibb.co/b7GgYZH/jemima20.jpg
    , @BenKenobi
    Recently the fake and gay former nation of "Canada" put a negress on the $10 bill.

    Apparently she refused to be ejected from a movie theatre on account of her negrocity and that makes her "muh Kanadian Rosa Parks."
  22. @Desiderius
    Bloom’s Western Canon book contains an excellent list in the appendix for anyone interested in achieving the education in the liberal arts of which you were deprived by that School of Resentment.

    Fortunately, I got my formal education before the crazies took over. My condolences to you young’uns.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    I’m almost fifty. My mentor at Georgia Tech - a Methodist minister - got me off to a good start. He had quite a bookshelf.
    , @ThreeCranes
    Me too. My education was long on the history of Ideas as expressed by the men who wrote them down in the first place.

    My wife, seven years my junior, hails from a different planet.
  23. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Part of the reason for this is that most philosophy departments in the US are monopolized by analytic philosophy. Thus continental philosophy, the history of philosophy, intellectual history, etc., have migrated to other departments and “studies”, chiefly comparative literature and English departments.

    Another big reason for the emphasis on criticism in academia is because universities and academics have to justify themselves and the thousands of dollars in tuition. Anyone can borrow famous works of literature for free at the library and read them at home. If the professor is basically just hosting a book club and providing little more than background information to texts that can be gleaned from a reference work, there’s really no reason to spend thousands on a class. Academics have to be providing something more esoteric and inaccessible, and that’s criticism and theory.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Meh.

    The good teacher is a guide and a goad.

    The good professor is also an inspiration.

    None of that has anything to do with academic fads. All of it is valuable to the student - and the parent - of good sense.
    , @MBlanc46
    I’m not in close touch with philosophy departments, but I’m skeptical about this claim. Back when I was a grad student at a major university (1968–72), analytic philosophy was he dominant approach (although I had courses in Hegel and Nietzsche). These days I believe that phenomenology and the grievance-oriented approaches are well represented.
    , @Craig Nelsen

    Academics have to be providing something more esoteric and inaccessible, and that’s criticism and theory.
     
    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it's just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins is work, and specialized work at that. Far easier for both the teacher and the student to simply learn what others think about Dostoevsky than to actually understand him well enough to see the world through his eyes.

    The education industry grows by lowering academic standards, first for the students, then necessarily for the people who will teach them. Today's academics are lazier and dimmer, on average, than those of a century ago, I'd wager, in rough proportion to the students they teach.


    https://youtu.be/LjHORRHXtyI
  24. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    I leaned toward that, but it's partly because I like argument and I'm a little wary of emotional engagement.

    Noel Gallagher’s with you on this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/18/noel-gallagher-fiction-waste-time

    “I only read factual books. I can’t think of … I mean, novels are just a waste of fucking time,” Gallagher told the writer Danny Wallace in an interview to mark his becoming GQ magazine’s Icon of the Year. “I can’t suspend belief in reality … I just end up thinking, ‘This isn’t fucking true’.”

    The guitarist and songwriter went on to explain how he preferred reading “about things that have actually happened”, citing Ernest R May’s depiction of the White House during the Cuban missile crisis, The Kennedy Tapes, as the kind of book he can “get into”.

    “I’m reading this book at the minute … Thinking, ‘Wow, this actually fucking happened, they came that close to blowing the world up!’”

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Informational Texts FTW!
    , @Anon
    When you're young, you want to learn about people and life experiences you haven't yet had yourself, so you like novels. When you're older, you want to learn about the world. You want facts, and novels come across as feeble and stupid because you've finally acquired enough experience to tell if they're poorly conceived or not. If you were someone who never read much while young and skipped the novel phase, novels will always come across as stupid if you dip into them later in life.
    , @Clyde
    I like the way he dropped the three f-bombs, in a way that made sense.
  25. @Steve Sailer
    I leaned toward that, but it's partly because I like argument and I'm a little wary of emotional engagement.

    At the other extreme, there was the legendary Ivy course “Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill”, where first you had to read everything by Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill, followed by everything about Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill.

    • Replies: @Anon
    The really ridiculous thing about that trio, is that Mill, the philosopher, is the best stylist of the lot. Ruskin and Carlyle are horrible at prose.
  26. @obwandiyag
    There are also truly great little books, books that are as good as any ever written, books hidden away in little cubbyholes that will
    A. Never make it into the canon, and
    B. Never make it into the politically correct canon either.

    Some of them are for sale on Amazon. Buried amidst the flotsam and jetsam.

    Oh, dear, I'm so illiterate.

    With your last statement, I wholeheartedly agree.

  27. @Anonymous
    Part of the reason for this is that most philosophy departments in the US are monopolized by analytic philosophy. Thus continental philosophy, the history of philosophy, intellectual history, etc., have migrated to other departments and "studies", chiefly comparative literature and English departments.

    Another big reason for the emphasis on criticism in academia is because universities and academics have to justify themselves and the thousands of dollars in tuition. Anyone can borrow famous works of literature for free at the library and read them at home. If the professor is basically just hosting a book club and providing little more than background information to texts that can be gleaned from a reference work, there's really no reason to spend thousands on a class. Academics have to be providing something more esoteric and inaccessible, and that's criticism and theory.

    Meh.

    The good teacher is a guide and a goad.

    The good professor is also an inspiration.

    None of that has anything to do with academic fads. All of it is valuable to the student – and the parent – of good sense.

  28. @Anonymous
    Noel Gallagher's with you on this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/18/noel-gallagher-fiction-waste-time

    "I only read factual books. I can't think of ... I mean, novels are just a waste of fucking time," Gallagher told the writer Danny Wallace in an interview to mark his becoming GQ magazine's Icon of the Year. "I can't suspend belief in reality … I just end up thinking, 'This isn't fucking true'."

    The guitarist and songwriter went on to explain how he preferred reading "about things that have actually happened", citing Ernest R May's depiction of the White House during the Cuban missile crisis, The Kennedy Tapes, as the kind of book he can "get into".

    "I'm reading this book at the minute … Thinking, 'Wow, this actually fucking happened, they came that close to blowing the world up!'"
     

    Informational Texts FTW!

  29. @International Jew
    Fortunately, I got my formal education before the crazies took over. My condolences to you young'uns.

    I’m almost fifty. My mentor at Georgia Tech – a Methodist minister – got me off to a good start. He had quite a bookshelf.

    • Replies: @Anon
    The Methodists are teetering on the SJW precipice. Give it a couple of more years before they give in on gay marriage. There's a process for schism and breaking up the UMC, and I think you can expect the overseas and black churches to bail out.
  30. Anonymous[339] • Disclaimer says:

    Bloom is endlessly quotable. His interviews are always must-reads: he combines incredible literacy with cutting humor and complete indifference to political correctness. One of my favorite appearances of his was on the Charlie Rose show: Charlie brought up Maya Angelou and Bloom shot her down as talentless. Rose persisted, and Bloom responded (going from memory here)

    Charlie, Charlie…Oscar Wilde said that all bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. So as to the question of whether Maya Angelou is a “good” poet, I’ll say only that she’s very genuine

    Another favorite, from an interview in the Paris Review:

    Denis Donoghue, in his review of Ruin The Sacred Truths, described me as the Satan of literary criticism. That I take as an involuntary compliment.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    This sounds like a prophet's curse

    https://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/bloom/interviews.html

    But I do think that the drab current phenomenon that passes for literary studies in the university will finally provide its own corrective. That is to say, sooner or later, students and teachers are going to get terribly bored with all the technocratic social work going on now. There will be a return to aesthetic values and desires, or these people will simply do something else with their time.
     
    , @black sea

    It's said that when Henry James received a manuscript that he didn't
    like, he would return it with the comment, "You have chosen a good
    subject and are treating it in a straightforward manner ." This usually
    pleased the person getting the manuscript back, but it was the worst
    thing that James could think of to say, for he knew, better than
    anybody else, that the straightforward manner is seldom equal to the
    complications of the good subject.
     
    From Flannery O'Connor's The Nature and Aim of Fiction
    , @simple_pseudonymic_handle
    I made the mistake of looking for an interview with Bloom on youtube. I found one from June 2018. He is leaning over way to the right. Looks like maybe a stroke. Who knows. Maybe it was a temporary injury from tennis but he is 88. I don't think he is reading 100's pages an hour ever again.
  31. @Anon
    Here's Bloom's list:

    http://sonic.net/~rteeter/grtbloom.html

    I'd copy it here, but it's really long, and Ron doesn't give us enough comment formatting tools to keep the structure intact.

    Has he really read all these books?!

    Treasure Island makes the list. Dracula. Jane Eyre. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. All of Dickens. Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, et al., a couple of dozen of continental African works, Langston Hughes.

    It goes way beyond "The Canon," in my opinion.

    Bloom could supposedly read something like 1000 pages an hour with near photographic recall when he was younger. True or not, I can’t say.

    • Replies: @ThreeCranes
    That's a lot. I hated my speed-reading course in high school. Maybe I'm retarded, but I like to read in my speaking voice--no, I don't move my lips! And I only managed a page a minute, roughly. But what I lacked in speed, I made up for in endurance. My favorite job was as an ID checker at a University swimming pool. I sat at the front entrance and read. And read.

    A doctor from the medical center would hand me his pager and instructed me to notify him, while he swam laps, if it buzzed. He would ask what it was I was reading and expressed surprise when I told him "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" or some such. He then began recommending books, the Dos Passos series and others, which, to his surprise, I procured and dutifully plowed through.

    Anyway, the head of the pool told me that she had had the hardest time keeping that job filled. Because, boredom. I couldn't have imagined a better job.

  32. Anonymous[339] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Bloom is endlessly quotable. His interviews are always must-reads: he combines incredible literacy with cutting humor and complete indifference to political correctness. One of my favorite appearances of his was on the Charlie Rose show: Charlie brought up Maya Angelou and Bloom shot her down as talentless. Rose persisted, and Bloom responded (going from memory here)

    Charlie, Charlie...Oscar Wilde said that all bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. So as to the question of whether Maya Angelou is a "good" poet, I'll say only that she's very genuine
     
    Another favorite, from an interview in the Paris Review:

    Denis Donoghue, in his review of Ruin The Sacred Truths, described me as the Satan of literary criticism. That I take as an involuntary compliment.
     

    This sounds like a prophet’s curse

    https://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/bloom/interviews.html

    But I do think that the drab current phenomenon that passes for literary studies in the university will finally provide its own corrective. That is to say, sooner or later, students and teachers are going to get terribly bored with all the technocratic social work going on now. There will be a return to aesthetic values and desires, or these people will simply do something else with their time.

    • Replies: @peterike

    That is to say, sooner or later, students and teachers are going to get terribly bored with all the technocratic social work going on now. There will be a return to aesthetic values and desires, or these people will simply do something else with their time.

     

    Bloom said this in 1991. Since then, it's gone peddle to the metal further in the "social work" direction. He also said:

    This intolerance, the self-congratulation, smugness, sanctimoniousness, the retreat from imaginative values, the flight from the aesthetic. It's not worth being truly outraged about. Eventually these people will provide their own antidote, because they will perish of boredom. I will win in the end

     

    So far I'd say it's Social Justice Warriors 100, Bloom 0. Not only hasn't his side made his predicted comeback, they've been routed and driven from the field entirely. What he got wrong was the boredom part. I guess he couldn't imagine the dopamine rush provided by non-stop outrage. Boredom? Students of literature have never been more excited.
  33. @Desiderius
    I’m almost fifty. My mentor at Georgia Tech - a Methodist minister - got me off to a good start. He had quite a bookshelf.

    The Methodists are teetering on the SJW precipice. Give it a couple of more years before they give in on gay marriage. There’s a process for schism and breaking up the UMC, and I think you can expect the overseas and black churches to bail out.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Yeah, they’re not immune to the bug, but those centuries of serious evangelism are paying off in a big way. Don’t discount the magic Negro talking some sense into the white woman on the ghey question.
  34. @The Last Real Calvinist
    I believe I was fortunate to end up in an undergrad English program that, by common faculty agreement, completely eschewed criticism until a senior year capstone course. I read nothing but primary texts for three and a half years.

    There's a lot to be said for this, I think. When you're a not-totally-confident undergrad, the weight of 'official' critical opinion on a poem or novel can be crushing, leaving not much room for a 'clean' reading of a text.

    I really like those Norton Anthology books. I read Moby Dick, and without all the footnotes I never would have understood half of it. Then after finishing the text there are lots of critical essays from different eras

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
    Here I am.

    I read Moby Dick with no footnotes and I understood about half of it. Overall it was an enjoyable book, and rather harrowing at points. But there was too much symbolism and rhapsodizing that I couldn't get a handle on. I felt like it could have been many hundreds of pages shorter and better for it.
  35. @anon
    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn't read novels, just criticism, because it's more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.
    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
    When F. Scott Fitzgerald was in high school he would read the summaries on the dust jackets of books and then fake like he actually read them.
  36. @Anon
    Here's Bloom's list:

    http://sonic.net/~rteeter/grtbloom.html

    I'd copy it here, but it's really long, and Ron doesn't give us enough comment formatting tools to keep the structure intact.

    Has he really read all these books?!

    Treasure Island makes the list. Dracula. Jane Eyre. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. All of Dickens. Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, et al., a couple of dozen of continental African works, Langston Hughes.

    It goes way beyond "The Canon," in my opinion.

    There are some real stinkers on that list.

    I figured out which old writers I like by the end of college, and haven’t much expanded the list.

  37. @Anon

    Tubman out on Twenty Dollar bill. File under – “Who says there is no good news”
    “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sparked outrage from lawmakers after announcing that American hero Harriet Tubman will not appear on the $20 bill as planned for 2020.”
     
    I may be too brainwashed by Scott Adams, but let me just throw out a prediction. Trump will let a head of steam build up on this, then will completely jujitsu it in some out-of-left-field way, just beore the election. I don't know who will be on the $20, but it will make his critics look silly.

    This is not going to happen, but for instance, Trump orders Treasury to put Oprah Winfrey on the $20. This violates a law, regulation, or "norm." A complete Twitter, cable news, and congressional shitstorm erupts. Everyone comes out looking like an idiot except Trump, and Trump has somehow managed to change the norm or law in the process. Maybe Oprah ends up on the bill, against her will perhaps, maybe a white guy, maybe Tubman with a rifle ends up. Whatever it is, every American will be carrying around little slips of Trump propaganda in his wallet.

    If the Donald only had my sense of humor, he’d announce, and exclaim thus:

    “Don’t know about you boys, but I jes’ loves me some flapjacks!”

    • Replies: @Charles Pewitt
    Aunt Jemima On My Mind

    Jared Taylor or James Taylor or Willie Nelson or Ray Charles singing it.

    Tweets from 2015:

    https://twitter.com/CharlesPewitt/status/645943756563222528

    https://twitter.com/CharlesPewitt/status/615895456225214464
  38. @Anon

    Tubman out on Twenty Dollar bill. File under – “Who says there is no good news”
    “Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sparked outrage from lawmakers after announcing that American hero Harriet Tubman will not appear on the $20 bill as planned for 2020.”
     
    I may be too brainwashed by Scott Adams, but let me just throw out a prediction. Trump will let a head of steam build up on this, then will completely jujitsu it in some out-of-left-field way, just beore the election. I don't know who will be on the $20, but it will make his critics look silly.

    This is not going to happen, but for instance, Trump orders Treasury to put Oprah Winfrey on the $20. This violates a law, regulation, or "norm." A complete Twitter, cable news, and congressional shitstorm erupts. Everyone comes out looking like an idiot except Trump, and Trump has somehow managed to change the norm or law in the process. Maybe Oprah ends up on the bill, against her will perhaps, maybe a white guy, maybe Tubman with a rifle ends up. Whatever it is, every American will be carrying around little slips of Trump propaganda in his wallet.

    Recently the fake and gay former nation of “Canada” put a negress on the $10 bill.

    Apparently she refused to be ejected from a movie theatre on account of her negrocity and that makes her “muh Kanadian Rosa Parks.”

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Canada doesn't have to be fake or gay. It's a choice their political class has made that their populace is too demoralized to resist. (And, yes, a country with a modest population of West Indian immigrants engaging in inane status signaling on race matters is both fake and gay).
  39. And this is why more and more people don’t read books.

  40. School of Resentment sounds like the natural follow-on to Bauhaus.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps

    School of Resentment sounds like the natural follow-on to Bauhaus.
     
    It would make a great name for a grunge or thrash metal band.
  41. Harold Bloom is in my top ten list of (redacted ethnic attribution) who weren’t complete and utter cunts.

    The Closing of the American Mind was one of the last books I ever read from cover to cover. Mesmerised with how he’d exactly captured the zeitgeist today looking back I gotta wonder if he didn’t see who or what that was driving it all, did he know why it was so or did he just put it down to some end-stage late-empire-collapse inevitable social disease?

    I don’t think the general public has lost interest in listening to smarter people than us discuss topics we wrack our brains to understand, I think the technology has moved on. Hence why a guy like Steve Sailer can make a living for himself on the internet.

    Ever read one of Faraday’s lectures he delivered in some local English Town Hall? The venue has changed, that’s all.

    • Replies: @Pat Hannagan
    The internet should be an expediter of knowledge in that one reads something one likes and next thing one gets introduced to ten others of type.

    That's the way it was and what made Google such an amazing search engine.
    , @kaganovitch
    'The Closing of the American Mind' is by a different Jew , Allan Bloom. Maybe crank your list all the way to eleven?
    , @Pat Hannagan
    In America no one entertaining hopes of upper echelon hate speech in tune with the New York Times would ever post anything favourably about the majority.

    The illogic of that last sentence was a death sentence should you ever attempt to explain it directly.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElhAysq3O6c
    erved
    Furtthermore no one would do anything about it save from writing screeds

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NTmgFNSLtA

    A degenerate race

    , @Benjaminl
    Point taken and not to be pedantic, but that was Allan Bloom, not Harold.
  42. anonymous[326] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer
    I leaned toward that, but it's partly because I like argument and I'm a little wary of emotional engagement.

    In France it turned out the people who liked writing about movies were really good at making them

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I met a widow whose husband had once been maybe the best film critic in America for a few years. She recounted that when they lived Paris in the early 1950s and used to go to that movie theater owned by the guy who'd hidden all the American movies away from the Nazis during WWII (vaguely alluded to in Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" -- the Nazis wanted to scrape the silver nitrate off the film stock), every night in the front row were the young Truffaut and Godard, chain smoking Gitanes, and taking notes for their movie reviews, which were really a plaintive cry: But what I really want to do is direct! And they finally started to direct and were good at it, and then President De Gaulle gave them a lot of money and created the French New Wave.
  43. @anonymous
    In France it turned out the people who liked writing about movies were really good at making them

    I met a widow whose husband had once been maybe the best film critic in America for a few years. She recounted that when they lived Paris in the early 1950s and used to go to that movie theater owned by the guy who’d hidden all the American movies away from the Nazis during WWII (vaguely alluded to in Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” — the Nazis wanted to scrape the silver nitrate off the film stock), every night in the front row were the young Truffaut and Godard, chain smoking Gitanes, and taking notes for their movie reviews, which were really a plaintive cry: But what I really want to do is direct! And they finally started to direct and were good at it, and then President De Gaulle gave them a lot of money and created the French New Wave.

  44. @Pat Hannagan
    Harold Bloom is in my top ten list of (redacted ethnic attribution) who weren't complete and utter cunts.

    The Closing of the American Mind was one of the last books I ever read from cover to cover. Mesmerised with how he'd exactly captured the zeitgeist today looking back I gotta wonder if he didn't see who or what that was driving it all, did he know why it was so or did he just put it down to some end-stage late-empire-collapse inevitable social disease?

    I don't think the general public has lost interest in listening to smarter people than us discuss topics we wrack our brains to understand, I think the technology has moved on. Hence why a guy like Steve Sailer can make a living for himself on the internet.

    Ever read one of Faraday's lectures he delivered in some local English Town Hall? The venue has changed, that's all.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk3fH_fQcSE

    The internet should be an expediter of knowledge in that one reads something one likes and next thing one gets introduced to ten others of type.

    That’s the way it was and what made Google such an amazing search engine.

  45. @BenKenobi
    Recently the fake and gay former nation of "Canada" put a negress on the $10 bill.

    Apparently she refused to be ejected from a movie theatre on account of her negrocity and that makes her "muh Kanadian Rosa Parks."

    Canada doesn’t have to be fake or gay. It’s a choice their political class has made that their populace is too demoralized to resist. (And, yes, a country with a modest population of West Indian immigrants engaging in inane status signaling on race matters is both fake and gay).

    • Agree: Cagey Beast
  46. @Clyde
    OT
    Tubman out on Twenty Dollar bill. File under - "Who says there is no good news"
    "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sparked outrage from lawmakers after announcing that American hero Harriet Tubman will not appear on the $20 bill as planned for 2020."

    I’d love it if Mnuchin announced a principle: no one gets on the currency unless they’ve governed something that meets a certain thresh-hold of institutional importance or founded something that grew into something of institutional importance in public life. Also, no one gets on the currency until 50 years have passed since their retirement.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    I’m good with the principle we’ve had all 49 years I’ve walked the earth: no one gets on the common currency.

    SBA/Sacajawea are relegated to the uncommon.
    , @Milo Minderbinder
    Personally, I'd like to see animals (American animals) on the currency: California Condor, Bison, Manatee, Crocodile, Badger, Barn Owl, Red Fox, etc...

    Additionally, no more Gov't Officials on names of building, airports, etc. (Frank Lautenberg Train Station, ugh!) whose name is only plastered on the edifice cause they looted the treasury to pay for it.

    The exception would be if the person is being honored for military service so Billy Mitchell Airport is OK, But Bill & Hillary Clinton Airport is not.

    Seriously who is more deserving of recognition

    Will Rogers (OK City)
    Louis Armstrong (New Orleans)
    John Wayne (Orange County)
    Charles Schulz (Sonoma County)
    Arnold Palmer (Latrobe)


    or

    Mayor LaGuardia (NYC)
    Mayors Hartsfield & Jackson (Atlanta)
    Govenor Hobby (Texas)
    , @Dmon
    That's a great idea, except instead of "no one gets on the currency", make it "no one gets in the country".
  47. @Chrisnonymous
    Ironically, this already happens in Japan. 90% of the "English literature" majors in Japanese universities don't read English books, or maybe only some excerpts or a few books here and there. They study "about" Eng lit instead. This is a model for the future of literary criticism--don't read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There's a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    Isn’t that why, formerly, our professors incessantly hammered home the notion of “original sources” in our reading lists? We were instructed not to read commentary until we had read the original–except for Hegel who was unintelligible even after reading all the secondary sources.

    It does make one wonder whether the students who squawk about this stuff ever read what it is they loathe so much. Wonder if, in fact, they deride and berate it precisely to avoid having to dig in and digest it. So much easier to dismiss it as contemptible.

    You can’t help but wonder too if this is related to the general lowering of admission standards to American universities. It may be that today’s crop of students are simply incapable of handling the material that comprises the core of Western thinking. If they’re unwilling to own their own inability–and who isn’t–then tossing their feces at it is all they’ve got.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    A comfortable majority of those matriculating are there to obtain credentials in vocational subjects. They're taking academic courses because it's required for the degree. And the vast majority of those following vocational courses and those following academics and arts are there for the general signaling function of a BA degree. The object of the students is to get through it. The faculty are not responding to students, they're expressing their own interior disorders.
  48. @Pat Hannagan
    Harold Bloom is in my top ten list of (redacted ethnic attribution) who weren't complete and utter cunts.

    The Closing of the American Mind was one of the last books I ever read from cover to cover. Mesmerised with how he'd exactly captured the zeitgeist today looking back I gotta wonder if he didn't see who or what that was driving it all, did he know why it was so or did he just put it down to some end-stage late-empire-collapse inevitable social disease?

    I don't think the general public has lost interest in listening to smarter people than us discuss topics we wrack our brains to understand, I think the technology has moved on. Hence why a guy like Steve Sailer can make a living for himself on the internet.

    Ever read one of Faraday's lectures he delivered in some local English Town Hall? The venue has changed, that's all.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk3fH_fQcSE

    ‘The Closing of the American Mind’ is by a different Jew , Allan Bloom. Maybe crank your list all the way to eleven?

  49. @International Jew
    Fortunately, I got my formal education before the crazies took over. My condolences to you young'uns.

    Me too. My education was long on the history of Ideas as expressed by the men who wrote them down in the first place.

    My wife, seven years my junior, hails from a different planet.

  50. @Janus
    Bloom could supposedly read something like 1000 pages an hour with near photographic recall when he was younger. True or not, I can't say.

    That’s a lot. I hated my speed-reading course in high school. Maybe I’m retarded, but I like to read in my speaking voice–no, I don’t move my lips! And I only managed a page a minute, roughly. But what I lacked in speed, I made up for in endurance. My favorite job was as an ID checker at a University swimming pool. I sat at the front entrance and read. And read.

    A doctor from the medical center would hand me his pager and instructed me to notify him, while he swam laps, if it buzzed. He would ask what it was I was reading and expressed surprise when I told him “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” or some such. He then began recommending books, the Dos Passos series and others, which, to his surprise, I procured and dutifully plowed through.

    Anyway, the head of the pool told me that she had had the hardest time keeping that job filled. Because, boredom. I couldn’t have imagined a better job.

    • Agree: Desiderius, David
    • Replies: @International Jew
    Speed-reading is (was) little more than a scam.
  51. @Anon
    The Methodists are teetering on the SJW precipice. Give it a couple of more years before they give in on gay marriage. There's a process for schism and breaking up the UMC, and I think you can expect the overseas and black churches to bail out.

    Yeah, they’re not immune to the bug, but those centuries of serious evangelism are paying off in a big way. Don’t discount the magic Negro talking some sense into the white woman on the ghey question.

  52. @Art Deco
    I'd love it if Mnuchin announced a principle: no one gets on the currency unless they've governed something that meets a certain thresh-hold of institutional importance or founded something that grew into something of institutional importance in public life. Also, no one gets on the currency until 50 years have passed since their retirement.

    I’m good with the principle we’ve had all 49 years I’ve walked the earth: no one gets on the common currency.

    SBA/Sacajawea are relegated to the uncommon.

  53. @HammerJack
    A debate between Bloom and Paglia would be my kind of fun, though they'd likely agree more than disagree. Maybe throw Derrida in for some spice.

    Fortunately, these giants of a past age have left behind voluminous written works for future generations. Which reminds me: get the hard copy because Google & Co are busy erasing inconvenient narratives.

    Even the Wayback Machine is being cleansed, it turns out. It won't completely surprise me if books--actual books--become valuable again just as vinyl records have.

    “Even the Wayback Machine is being cleansed, it turns out. It won’t completely surprise me if books–actual books–become valuable again just as vinyl records have.”

    Do tell. You have a link?

    • Replies: @getaclue
    I've read the same several times--they are able to remove things they don't like--Leftists removing things they don't like -- so yes this is happening....
  54. @Anonymous
    This sounds like a prophet's curse

    https://prelectur.stanford.edu/lecturers/bloom/interviews.html

    But I do think that the drab current phenomenon that passes for literary studies in the university will finally provide its own corrective. That is to say, sooner or later, students and teachers are going to get terribly bored with all the technocratic social work going on now. There will be a return to aesthetic values and desires, or these people will simply do something else with their time.
     

    That is to say, sooner or later, students and teachers are going to get terribly bored with all the technocratic social work going on now. There will be a return to aesthetic values and desires, or these people will simply do something else with their time.

    Bloom said this in 1991. Since then, it’s gone peddle to the metal further in the “social work” direction. He also said:

    This intolerance, the self-congratulation, smugness, sanctimoniousness, the retreat from imaginative values, the flight from the aesthetic. It’s not worth being truly outraged about. Eventually these people will provide their own antidote, because they will perish of boredom. I will win in the end

    So far I’d say it’s Social Justice Warriors 100, Bloom 0. Not only hasn’t his side made his predicted comeback, they’ve been routed and driven from the field entirely. What he got wrong was the boredom part. I guess he couldn’t imagine the dopamine rush provided by non-stop outrage. Boredom? Students of literature have never been more excited.

    • Replies: @SFG
    That's exactly it. He couldn't imagine the dopamine rush provided by nonstop outrage.

    Or, maybe the old guy just wasn't pessimistic enough.
    , @stillCARealist
    I don't know the exact numbers, but I thought the students in the humanities were dwindling pretty sharply. The ones that are still there are making plenty of noise, thank you social media, but I think there's a lot less of them.
  55. @Chrisnonymous
    Ironically, this already happens in Japan. 90% of the "English literature" majors in Japanese universities don't read English books, or maybe only some excerpts or a few books here and there. They study "about" Eng lit instead. This is a model for the future of literary criticism--don't read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There's a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    This is a model for the future of literary criticism–don’t read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them.

    I had a professor in grad school who openly stated that the criticism is more important than the literature. Of course, he was one of those deconstructionists, happily tearing down the stale, pale male edifice of literature, and making sure we all knew that Matthew Arnold was a terrible writer and a worse person, and that T.S. Eliot was surely the most over-rated poet ever, because he was an intolerable old conservative.

    My main memory is that whatever work went into his critical sausage grinder came out sounding exactly the same: every piece of writing was about the act of writing. There’s nothing outside the text, you see (except, apparently, T.S. Eliot’s awful conservatism). Even a work as full of incident and period detail as “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” was, sure enough, about the act of writing, and he was able to make it seem dull.

    Should I mention he was very Jewish?

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Matthew Arnold was a terrible writer and a worse person
     
    If you’re attacking Arnold you’ve really lost the plot. The two options are either ignoring him (as second-rate) or appreciating him (as an exemplar of the best of bourgeois liberalism).

    Attacking him is like attacking Betty White or Michael Palin. He was the Barney Miller of the Victorian Age.
  56. @Pat Hannagan
    Harold Bloom is in my top ten list of (redacted ethnic attribution) who weren't complete and utter cunts.

    The Closing of the American Mind was one of the last books I ever read from cover to cover. Mesmerised with how he'd exactly captured the zeitgeist today looking back I gotta wonder if he didn't see who or what that was driving it all, did he know why it was so or did he just put it down to some end-stage late-empire-collapse inevitable social disease?

    I don't think the general public has lost interest in listening to smarter people than us discuss topics we wrack our brains to understand, I think the technology has moved on. Hence why a guy like Steve Sailer can make a living for himself on the internet.

    Ever read one of Faraday's lectures he delivered in some local English Town Hall? The venue has changed, that's all.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk3fH_fQcSE

    In America no one entertaining hopes of upper echelon hate speech in tune with the New York Times would ever post anything favourably about the majority.

    The illogic of that last sentence was a death sentence should you ever attempt to explain it directly.

    erved
    Furtthermore no one would do anything about it save from writing screeds

    A degenerate race

  57. @Art Deco
    I'd love it if Mnuchin announced a principle: no one gets on the currency unless they've governed something that meets a certain thresh-hold of institutional importance or founded something that grew into something of institutional importance in public life. Also, no one gets on the currency until 50 years have passed since their retirement.

    Personally, I’d like to see animals (American animals) on the currency: California Condor, Bison, Manatee, Crocodile, Badger, Barn Owl, Red Fox, etc…

    Additionally, no more Gov’t Officials on names of building, airports, etc. (Frank Lautenberg Train Station, ugh!) whose name is only plastered on the edifice cause they looted the treasury to pay for it.

    The exception would be if the person is being honored for military service so Billy Mitchell Airport is OK, But Bill & Hillary Clinton Airport is not.

    Seriously who is more deserving of recognition

    Will Rogers (OK City)
    Louis Armstrong (New Orleans)
    John Wayne (Orange County)
    Charles Schulz (Sonoma County)
    Arnold Palmer (Latrobe)

    or

    Mayor LaGuardia (NYC)
    Mayors Hartsfield & Jackson (Atlanta)
    Govenor Hobby (Texas)

    • Replies: @ChrisM
    Agreed with regards to building names. Same with naval vessels. Additionally, any person selected must have passed away.
  58. @Anon
    Here's Bloom's list:

    http://sonic.net/~rteeter/grtbloom.html

    I'd copy it here, but it's really long, and Ron doesn't give us enough comment formatting tools to keep the structure intact.

    Has he really read all these books?!

    Treasure Island makes the list. Dracula. Jane Eyre. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. All of Dickens. Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, et al., a couple of dozen of continental African works, Langston Hughes.

    It goes way beyond "The Canon," in my opinion.

    I think the ‘canon’ collapsed because it grew too long and unwieldy to be useful — just look at Bloom’s attempt — but also because the fresh young professors and writers had to make their names somehow. And now I guess we don’t have a canon anymore. Good work, young professors. How are the Buffy the Vampire Slayer studies coming along?

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    No the canon collapsed because the looters and wreckers destroyed it with malice aforethought.
    , @Cortes
    The more things change...

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribonian

    The most durable of the fossils preserved was Gaius, a primer for newbie law students from around AD 161.

  59. It’s funny how the wheel of fortune keeps on turning.

    Harold Bloom: The atmosphere at Yale in the 1950s was “an Anglo-Catholic nightmare. Everyone was on their knees to Mr. T. S. Eliot.” https://books.google.com/books?id=QSU4AAAAIAAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PA52#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Naomi Wolf in 2004: “In the late fall of 1983, professor Harold Bloom did something banal, human, and destructive: He put his hand on a student’s inner thigh—a student whom he was tasked with teaching and grading. The student was me, a 20-year-old senior at Yale.” http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/features/n_9932/

    Harold Bloom on decolonizing the Yale English Department” in 2016: “I am too weary to comment again on this nonsense.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/is-yales-english-course-really-too-white

    Naomi Wolf in 2018: “Wolf told the News she has been trying to file a complaint remotely with the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct since April 2016. In a 2015 Time magazine interview, Bloom denied Wolf’s allegations, saying he had never been in a room alone with her.”

    https://yaledailynews.com/blog/2018/01/18/wolf-says-yale-blocked-bloom-complaint/

  60. @Pat Hannagan
    Harold Bloom is in my top ten list of (redacted ethnic attribution) who weren't complete and utter cunts.

    The Closing of the American Mind was one of the last books I ever read from cover to cover. Mesmerised with how he'd exactly captured the zeitgeist today looking back I gotta wonder if he didn't see who or what that was driving it all, did he know why it was so or did he just put it down to some end-stage late-empire-collapse inevitable social disease?

    I don't think the general public has lost interest in listening to smarter people than us discuss topics we wrack our brains to understand, I think the technology has moved on. Hence why a guy like Steve Sailer can make a living for himself on the internet.

    Ever read one of Faraday's lectures he delivered in some local English Town Hall? The venue has changed, that's all.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk3fH_fQcSE

    Point taken and not to be pedantic, but that was Allan Bloom, not Harold.

  61. @Anon
    Here's Bloom's list:

    http://sonic.net/~rteeter/grtbloom.html

    I'd copy it here, but it's really long, and Ron doesn't give us enough comment formatting tools to keep the structure intact.

    Has he really read all these books?!

    Treasure Island makes the list. Dracula. Jane Eyre. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. All of Dickens. Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, et al., a couple of dozen of continental African works, Langston Hughes.

    It goes way beyond "The Canon," in my opinion.

    For anyone who spends a lot of time commuting in a car, the “Great Books” podcast is a nice way to get a taste of some of the titles, and decide which, if any, to actually read:

    https://www.nationalreview.com/podcasts/the-great-books/

    Murray’s Human Accomplishment list is a way to cross-check: Shakespeare, Goethe, Dante, Virgil, Homer…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Accomplishment#Western_literature
    http://www.unz.com/isteve/charles-murrays-human-accomplishment-database-is-now-online/
    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/cultures-bell-curve/

    The “Pantheon” database (derived from Wikipedia) is another way to cross-check the ratings on there:

    http://pantheon.media.mit.edu/rankings/people/all/HUMANITIES/-4000/2010/H15

  62. @Art Deco
    I'd love it if Mnuchin announced a principle: no one gets on the currency unless they've governed something that meets a certain thresh-hold of institutional importance or founded something that grew into something of institutional importance in public life. Also, no one gets on the currency until 50 years have passed since their retirement.

    That’s a great idea, except instead of “no one gets on the currency”, make it “no one gets in the country”.

  63. @Anonymous
    Bloom is endlessly quotable. His interviews are always must-reads: he combines incredible literacy with cutting humor and complete indifference to political correctness. One of my favorite appearances of his was on the Charlie Rose show: Charlie brought up Maya Angelou and Bloom shot her down as talentless. Rose persisted, and Bloom responded (going from memory here)

    Charlie, Charlie...Oscar Wilde said that all bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. So as to the question of whether Maya Angelou is a "good" poet, I'll say only that she's very genuine
     
    Another favorite, from an interview in the Paris Review:

    Denis Donoghue, in his review of Ruin The Sacred Truths, described me as the Satan of literary criticism. That I take as an involuntary compliment.
     

    It’s said that when Henry James received a manuscript that he didn’t
    like, he would return it with the comment, “You have chosen a good
    subject and are treating it in a straightforward manner .” This usually
    pleased the person getting the manuscript back, but it was the worst
    thing that James could think of to say, for he knew, better than
    anybody else, that the straightforward manner is seldom equal to the
    complications of the good subject.

    From Flannery O’Connor’s The Nature and Aim of Fiction

  64. @Mr McKenna
    If the Donald only had my sense of humor, he'd announce, and exclaim thus:

    "Don't know about you boys, but I jes' loves me some flapjacks!"

    https://i.ibb.co/b7GgYZH/jemima20.jpg

    Aunt Jemima On My Mind

    Jared Taylor or James Taylor or Willie Nelson or Ray Charles singing it.

    Tweets from 2015:

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
    Whoa, I may owe you a percentage!
  65. @anon
    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn't read novels, just criticism, because it's more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.

    LOL. First thought that came into my head. P.S. What about “Tommy”? Sounds more UC.

  66. @Cortes
    Try

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1143788.How_to_Talk_About_Books_You_Haven_t_Read

    When F. Scott Fitzgerald was in high school he would read the summaries on the dust jackets of books and then fake like he actually read them.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Scott FitzGerald was in high school ca. 1912. How common were dust jackets in that era?
  67. Anon[804] • Disclaimer says:
    @Chrisnonymous
    Ironically, this already happens in Japan. 90% of the "English literature" majors in Japanese universities don't read English books, or maybe only some excerpts or a few books here and there. They study "about" Eng lit instead. This is a model for the future of literary criticism--don't read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them. There's a dystopian sci fi novel plot in there.

    Good literary criticism is an art form in itself, and it can be a genuinely enjoyable read, but quite often the books they’re jumping up and down over aren’t that good at all. I’ve enjoyed good litcrit writers from Augustine Birrell to Lytton Strachey, but man, many of the books they liked are pretty dire reads today and don’t hold up.

    Back in the day, I used to really enjoy James Mustich’s blurbs for the books he was selling in his Common Reader catalogue, until I tried reading some of the books he praised so much only to discover that his tastes sucked.

    • LOL: bomag
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    There’s a certain cowardice inherent in criticism.
    , @Cortes
    Agreed on the art form of great literary criticism.

    A couple of Chilean examples may be of interest (maybe, just maybe).

    Dorfman &c “ How to Read Donald Duck” - a polemical approach to the Disney character.

    In contrast, Roberto Bolaño’s “Nazi Literature in the Americas” is a work of fiction which mimics to great effect the style of literary criticism which gained plaudits in the late 1960s/early 1970s in southern Latin America.

    The best example I’m aware of is the debunker of Freud, Frederick C. Crews, who launched his own missiles in the anaylses he produced for the spectacular “The Pooh Perplex.” If you haven’t read it get a copy and prepare for enjoyment.
  68. @Reg Cæsar
    At the other extreme, there was the legendary Ivy course "Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill", where first you had to read everything by Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill, followed by everything about Carlyle, Ruskin, and Mill.

    The really ridiculous thing about that trio, is that Mill, the philosopher, is the best stylist of the lot. Ruskin and Carlyle are horrible at prose.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    The really ridiculous thing about that trio, is that Mill, the philosopher, is the best stylist of the lot. Ruskin and Carlyle are horrible at prose.
     
    Actually, I'm not sure that Ruskin was one of the three. I threw him in there because I couldn't remember the exact trio. But Carlyle was definitely one of them.
  69. Anon[804] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Noel Gallagher's with you on this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/18/noel-gallagher-fiction-waste-time

    "I only read factual books. I can't think of ... I mean, novels are just a waste of fucking time," Gallagher told the writer Danny Wallace in an interview to mark his becoming GQ magazine's Icon of the Year. "I can't suspend belief in reality … I just end up thinking, 'This isn't fucking true'."

    The guitarist and songwriter went on to explain how he preferred reading "about things that have actually happened", citing Ernest R May's depiction of the White House during the Cuban missile crisis, The Kennedy Tapes, as the kind of book he can "get into".

    "I'm reading this book at the minute … Thinking, 'Wow, this actually fucking happened, they came that close to blowing the world up!'"
     

    When you’re young, you want to learn about people and life experiences you haven’t yet had yourself, so you like novels. When you’re older, you want to learn about the world. You want facts, and novels come across as feeble and stupid because you’ve finally acquired enough experience to tell if they’re poorly conceived or not. If you were someone who never read much while young and skipped the novel phase, novels will always come across as stupid if you dip into them later in life.

    • Replies: @Craken
    A dismissive attitude toward the great novels reminds me of Lichtenberg's wonderful epigram: "A book is a mirror: if a monkey looks into it you can't expect an apostle to look out."
    This applies equally to people like Bloom, who lives for the most outrageous flights of imagination, flights from reality. Ironically, he forces himself to read Swift's "A Tale of a Tub" frequently as a corrective or tether--he supposes Swift's imaginative work functions as a corrective to the dangerous prevalence of his imagination.
  70. @obwandiyag
    There are also truly great little books, books that are as good as any ever written, books hidden away in little cubbyholes that will
    A. Never make it into the canon, and
    B. Never make it into the politically correct canon either.

    Some of them are for sale on Amazon. Buried amidst the flotsam and jetsam.

    Oh, dear, I'm so illiterate.

    I’ve read a whole string of obscure memoirs and travel books written in the 1800s by equally obscure names not taught in college and enjoyed the heck out of them. Academic fixation on fiction only is a real waste of time

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    The late ninetenth century included a wave of anti-Mormon texts, and the early twentieth century had a smaller wave of anti-Catholic ones, and many of these are on archive dot org, and are enjoyable. One was an American priest in France describing why he left the church and the other was a chick who got married into Mormonism without knowing what it was, getting her revenge by describing its true history and secret rip-offs of Masonry.
  71. @Dtbb
    I really like those Norton Anthology books. I read Moby Dick, and without all the footnotes I never would have understood half of it. Then after finishing the text there are lots of critical essays from different eras

    Here I am.

    I read Moby Dick with no footnotes and I understood about half of it. Overall it was an enjoyable book, and rather harrowing at points. But there was too much symbolism and rhapsodizing that I couldn’t get a handle on. I felt like it could have been many hundreds of pages shorter and better for it.

  72. @Malcolm X-Lax
    When F. Scott Fitzgerald was in high school he would read the summaries on the dust jackets of books and then fake like he actually read them.

    Scott FitzGerald was in high school ca. 1912. How common were dust jackets in that era?

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
    I don't know. I read a biography of Fitzgerald perhaps 25 years ago that mentioned it. Maybe it was the inside cover. I don't really recall and it doesn't really matter. Here's some more info if you're interested.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_jacket

  73. @The Alarmist
    School of Resentment sounds like the natural follow-on to Bauhaus.

    School of Resentment sounds like the natural follow-on to Bauhaus.

    It would make a great name for a grunge or thrash metal band.

  74. @Anon
    Here's Bloom's list:

    http://sonic.net/~rteeter/grtbloom.html

    I'd copy it here, but it's really long, and Ron doesn't give us enough comment formatting tools to keep the structure intact.

    Has he really read all these books?!

    Treasure Island makes the list. Dracula. Jane Eyre. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. All of Dickens. Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, et al., a couple of dozen of continental African works, Langston Hughes.

    It goes way beyond "The Canon," in my opinion.

    Major bummer, however, if one’s tastes run towards history, philosophy, politics etc. and not so much in great literature. As a result, so much is missed. I read Don Quixote twice. The first time, when I was in high school, I found it downright funny and entertaining. The second time, many MANY years later when I was much older, I found it heartbreaking. Any work that can evoke two different forms of emotion over a period of 40 years or so deserves to be called a “masterpiece.” And it’s for sure that there are so many more such works out there that few if any of us will ever get the chance to read.

  75. I miss the days of Bloom & Paglia on C-SPAN. In the name of the legendary C-SPAN fairness, we hear a lot from the burgeoning “School of Resentment,” and C-SPAN does the world a favor by letting the lack of substance speak for itself. C-SPAN juxtaposes the right / left with no editing, but most of today’s conservative scholars are not combating the attempt to dismantle the Western canon any more than Frenchmen are protecting 800-year-old cathedrals.

    Bloom and Paglia are right about what constitutes literary merit. The same is true in visual art, which has been strip mined of technical & formal content by scholars seeking to superimpose overriding political messages. Other than the non-objective painters, there was always some narrative in painting. But narrative is secondary to the formal / compositional / technical mastery in art. If top-rate painters prioritized political messages, they could not get first-rate work done. The skill set is too demanding for narrative to be the main focus. Those who manage to produce the highest caliber work deserve to be judged on the quality of their work in and of itself.

  76. @Art Deco
    Scott FitzGerald was in high school ca. 1912. How common were dust jackets in that era?

    I don’t know. I read a biography of Fitzgerald perhaps 25 years ago that mentioned it. Maybe it was the inside cover. I don’t really recall and it doesn’t really matter. Here’s some more info if you’re interested.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_jacket

  77. @Pericles
    I think the 'canon' collapsed because it grew too long and unwieldy to be useful -- just look at Bloom's attempt -- but also because the fresh young professors and writers had to make their names somehow. And now I guess we don't have a canon anymore. Good work, young professors. How are the Buffy the Vampire Slayer studies coming along?

    No the canon collapsed because the looters and wreckers destroyed it with malice aforethought.

  78. @Anon
    Good literary criticism is an art form in itself, and it can be a genuinely enjoyable read, but quite often the books they're jumping up and down over aren't that good at all. I've enjoyed good litcrit writers from Augustine Birrell to Lytton Strachey, but man, many of the books they liked are pretty dire reads today and don't hold up.

    Back in the day, I used to really enjoy James Mustich's blurbs for the books he was selling in his Common Reader catalogue, until I tried reading some of the books he praised so much only to discover that his tastes sucked.

    There’s a certain cowardice inherent in criticism.

  79. @peterike

    This is a model for the future of literary criticism–don’t read the books, just learn the correct opinions about them.

     

    I had a professor in grad school who openly stated that the criticism is more important than the literature. Of course, he was one of those deconstructionists, happily tearing down the stale, pale male edifice of literature, and making sure we all knew that Matthew Arnold was a terrible writer and a worse person, and that T.S. Eliot was surely the most over-rated poet ever, because he was an intolerable old conservative.

    My main memory is that whatever work went into his critical sausage grinder came out sounding exactly the same: every piece of writing was about the act of writing. There's nothing outside the text, you see (except, apparently, T.S. Eliot's awful conservatism). Even a work as full of incident and period detail as "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" was, sure enough, about the act of writing, and he was able to make it seem dull.

    Should I mention he was very Jewish?

    Matthew Arnold was a terrible writer and a worse person

    If you’re attacking Arnold you’ve really lost the plot. The two options are either ignoring him (as second-rate) or appreciating him (as an exemplar of the best of bourgeois liberalism).

    Attacking him is like attacking Betty White or Michael Palin. He was the Barney Miller of the Victorian Age.

  80. The joys of the Inclusive Canon.

    The Norton Anthology of Western Literature now includes 20 pages of selections from….the Koran.

    • Replies: @Pericles

    The Norton Anthology of Western Literature now includes 20 pages of selections from….the Koran.

     

    Western compared to, uhhh, India. Please buy this new edition, edited by the most deserving!
  81. @Anonymous
    Noel Gallagher's with you on this:

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/18/noel-gallagher-fiction-waste-time

    "I only read factual books. I can't think of ... I mean, novels are just a waste of fucking time," Gallagher told the writer Danny Wallace in an interview to mark his becoming GQ magazine's Icon of the Year. "I can't suspend belief in reality … I just end up thinking, 'This isn't fucking true'."

    The guitarist and songwriter went on to explain how he preferred reading "about things that have actually happened", citing Ernest R May's depiction of the White House during the Cuban missile crisis, The Kennedy Tapes, as the kind of book he can "get into".

    "I'm reading this book at the minute … Thinking, 'Wow, this actually fucking happened, they came that close to blowing the world up!'"
     

    I like the way he dropped the three f-bombs, in a way that made sense.

    • Replies: @HammerJack
    Yeah he's really keepin it real yo
  82. @Anon
    The really ridiculous thing about that trio, is that Mill, the philosopher, is the best stylist of the lot. Ruskin and Carlyle are horrible at prose.

    The really ridiculous thing about that trio, is that Mill, the philosopher, is the best stylist of the lot. Ruskin and Carlyle are horrible at prose.

    Actually, I’m not sure that Ruskin was one of the three. I threw him in there because I couldn’t remember the exact trio. But Carlyle was definitely one of them.

  83. @TomSchmidt
    "Even the Wayback Machine is being cleansed, it turns out. It won’t completely surprise me if books–actual books–become valuable again just as vinyl records have."

    Do tell. You have a link?

    I’ve read the same several times–they are able to remove things they don’t like–Leftists removing things they don’t like — so yes this is happening….

    • Agree: Prodigal son
  84. @ThreeCranes
    That's a lot. I hated my speed-reading course in high school. Maybe I'm retarded, but I like to read in my speaking voice--no, I don't move my lips! And I only managed a page a minute, roughly. But what I lacked in speed, I made up for in endurance. My favorite job was as an ID checker at a University swimming pool. I sat at the front entrance and read. And read.

    A doctor from the medical center would hand me his pager and instructed me to notify him, while he swam laps, if it buzzed. He would ask what it was I was reading and expressed surprise when I told him "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" or some such. He then began recommending books, the Dos Passos series and others, which, to his surprise, I procured and dutifully plowed through.

    Anyway, the head of the pool told me that she had had the hardest time keeping that job filled. Because, boredom. I couldn't have imagined a better job.

    Speed-reading is (was) little more than a scam.

  85. @Milo Minderbinder
    Personally, I'd like to see animals (American animals) on the currency: California Condor, Bison, Manatee, Crocodile, Badger, Barn Owl, Red Fox, etc...

    Additionally, no more Gov't Officials on names of building, airports, etc. (Frank Lautenberg Train Station, ugh!) whose name is only plastered on the edifice cause they looted the treasury to pay for it.

    The exception would be if the person is being honored for military service so Billy Mitchell Airport is OK, But Bill & Hillary Clinton Airport is not.

    Seriously who is more deserving of recognition

    Will Rogers (OK City)
    Louis Armstrong (New Orleans)
    John Wayne (Orange County)
    Charles Schulz (Sonoma County)
    Arnold Palmer (Latrobe)


    or

    Mayor LaGuardia (NYC)
    Mayors Hartsfield & Jackson (Atlanta)
    Govenor Hobby (Texas)

    Agreed with regards to building names. Same with naval vessels. Additionally, any person selected must have passed away.

  86. @Charles Pewitt
    Aunt Jemima On My Mind

    Jared Taylor or James Taylor or Willie Nelson or Ray Charles singing it.

    Tweets from 2015:

    https://twitter.com/CharlesPewitt/status/645943756563222528

    https://twitter.com/CharlesPewitt/status/615895456225214464

    Whoa, I may owe you a percentage!

  87. @Pericles
    I think the 'canon' collapsed because it grew too long and unwieldy to be useful -- just look at Bloom's attempt -- but also because the fresh young professors and writers had to make their names somehow. And now I guess we don't have a canon anymore. Good work, young professors. How are the Buffy the Vampire Slayer studies coming along?

    The more things change…

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribonian

    The most durable of the fossils preserved was Gaius, a primer for newbie law students from around AD 161.

  88. I wrote already on the same topic….

    I’ve read 10 + Bloom’s books & he constantly harps on these authors: Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, Whitman, Tolstoy, Montaigne, Kafka, Freud, Samuel Johnson, Whitman, Dickens, Dickinson … George Eliot is lavishly praised for her philo-Semitism. Nathanael West is also his favorite.

    His fave authors not listed among those “narrowly canonical” are Swift, Richardson, Hart Crane & Wallace Stevens. Orwell, Camus, Garcia Marquez, …in his view overrated. O’Connor almost great, but her Catholicism annoys him. He openly hates Celine & especially P. Wyndham Lewis.

    Basically, he doesn’t understand German philosophical novel, so unenthusiastically admits greatness of Musil, but avoids Hermann Broch like a pest.

    He grudgingly admits Dostoevsky’s greatness, but always finds a way to marginalize him (bad antisemite, bad). For instance, Bloom compiled a book of criticism on Tolstoy where he took a chapter from Steiner’s work “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky’”, but somehow “forgot” to include parts from Steiner where Steiner openly expresses the view that Dostoevsky is deeper & more significant writer than Tolstoy (or at least, more relevant).

    Bloom’s weaknesses are sometimes laughable. Just a few rambling associations….

    Bloom’s”theory” is that Shakespeare’s characters change because they overhear themselves. Actually, this is a dramatic device, not necessary for, say, novels. Of course that Shakespeare’s characters are more vivid & memorable than most of his predecessors’, but this has nothing to do with this purely technical artifice. And his Bardolatry is absurd – even when writing on Kafka, he has to mention Shake as a creator of “shamanic cosmos”. He is right in his claim that Conrad was central formative influence on Faulkner & Fitzgerald, but re Hemingway- wrong; also, he wrote on Milton basically “overhearing” himself about Shakespeare. Nothing new.

    Bloom got it right that the ending of Goethe’s “Faust” is “cultural appropriation” of Dante & Catholic mythology, but in a creative way. Kudos for that.His chapters on Dickinson & Dickens & Eliot are his personal projections. Not much insight.

    Bloom’s Whitman is good, but Bloom, a dedicated scholar of Gnosis, was unable to decipher Whitman’s psychic cartography & spiritual world-view. He got all mixed up (self, soul, myself,….)

    We are constantly reminded that T.S. Eliot was antisemitic. My goodness, how shocking ….

    Poldy Bllom’s Tolstoy is good, but the heroism theme is overworked

    Freud is, according to Bloom, prosified Shakespeare who got all his ideas from Shake. This is obscurantist nonsense. Schopenhauer aside, Freud’s main influence was his work with Charcot & Pierre Janet (hypnotherapy & early personality theories). Freud, although a highly literate & cultured man, thought of himself as Darwin of the mind, a scientist, and his edifice (now crumbling) was built on a mixture of practice & psychological/philosophical paradigms, not a literature.

    Yale Professor’s part on Proust is great in clearing away now dominant & annoying gay & Jewish obsessions. And: Woolf is “feminism as the love of reading”. Que?

    Kafka is given spiritual authority & then we are left wondering where this authority lies. Bloom quotes some Kafka’s quasi-gnostic aphorisms as the pinnacle of spiritual insight. Why not quote Heraclitus, Marcus Aurelius…. Karl Kraus. Nietzsche’s “Zarathustra” is a disaster, but Kafka is greater than, say, Mann or Faulkner because of- aphorisms & a few short stories (his novels suck). * Beckett is so overpraised that whole chapter is basically a good joke.

    On balance, Bloom is right in his denunciation of Derrida & Foucault & “School of Resentment”, but he could have written a much more insightful survey. Now, the fact that deranged lunatics still attack him, is not a statement on Bloom.

    It is is a judgement on America: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Bloom is supersmart but perhaps not superaware of his own biases. But that's fine.
    , @David
    Really interesting comment. Thanks.
    , @Desiderius
    The writing is indeed on the wall. Remains to be seen whether we heed it in time.
    , @Craken
    You're wrong about quite a lot. Freud, to begin with: his work comes out of Shakespeare and Nietzsche primarily. He magically converted their gold to his silver and bronze and bile. Though he received first rate scientific training, he consciously chose to be one of the great 20th century Jewish anti-scientists (much like Boaz and Lewontin), who aggressively imposed what he called his "scientific" system on the world. At bottom, he is exactly what Bloom nails him as: a mythologist of human psychology.

    Where is the self-overhearing "dramatic device" of Shakespeare to be found in Sophocles, Seneca, or Marlowe? It was invented by Shakespeare because he needed it to achieve his representational vision--and the others did not. His innovation cannot be reduced to a device; it was invented to expand the possibilities of representing human consciousness on stage. This is one of the ways he enabled his principal characters to appear to be what Hegel called "free artists of themselves."

    The chapter on Dickinson is probably the best in his "Western Canon" book, and he certainly appreciates far more of the great George Eliot than her philo-Jewishness.

    As to Bloom's Jewish sympathies: my impression is that they only become obscene in his discussions of Freud. Even when they recognize he was a con man, some of the most brilliant Jews (like Wittgenstein) still love Freud for his deeply Jewish-centric view of the world.

    Bloom is a case in point of the dictum that everyone is conservative about subjects in which they are experts. He's a lifelong socialist who nevertheless defends spiritual hierarchy in his field.
  89. @Anon
    Good literary criticism is an art form in itself, and it can be a genuinely enjoyable read, but quite often the books they're jumping up and down over aren't that good at all. I've enjoyed good litcrit writers from Augustine Birrell to Lytton Strachey, but man, many of the books they liked are pretty dire reads today and don't hold up.

    Back in the day, I used to really enjoy James Mustich's blurbs for the books he was selling in his Common Reader catalogue, until I tried reading some of the books he praised so much only to discover that his tastes sucked.

    Agreed on the art form of great literary criticism.

    A couple of Chilean examples may be of interest (maybe, just maybe).

    Dorfman &c “ How to Read Donald Duck” – a polemical approach to the Disney character.

    In contrast, Roberto Bolaño’s “Nazi Literature in the Americas” is a work of fiction which mimics to great effect the style of literary criticism which gained plaudits in the late 1960s/early 1970s in southern Latin America.

    The best example I’m aware of is the debunker of Freud, Frederick C. Crews, who launched his own missiles in the anaylses he produced for the spectacular “The Pooh Perplex.” If you haven’t read it get a copy and prepare for enjoyment.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Shakespeare criticism can be a minor art form in itself, like Hazlitt or perhaps A.C. Bradley.
    , @kaganovitch
    The best example I’m aware of is the debunker of Freud, Frederick C. Crews, who launched his own missiles in the anaylses he produced for the spectacular “The Pooh Perplex.” If you haven’t read it get a copy and prepare for enjoyment.

    Crews is indeed, a formidable polemicist. One of the best.
  90. @Bardon Kaldian
    I wrote already on the same topic....

    I’ve read 10 + Bloom’s books & he constantly harps on these authors: Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, Whitman, Tolstoy, Montaigne, Kafka, Freud, Samuel Johnson, Whitman, Dickens, Dickinson … George Eliot is lavishly praised for her philo-Semitism. Nathanael West is also his favorite.

    His fave authors not listed among those “narrowly canonical” are Swift, Richardson, Hart Crane & Wallace Stevens. Orwell, Camus, Garcia Marquez, …in his view overrated. O’Connor almost great, but her Catholicism annoys him. He openly hates Celine & especially P. Wyndham Lewis.

    Basically, he doesn’t understand German philosophical novel, so unenthusiastically admits greatness of Musil, but avoids Hermann Broch like a pest.

    He grudgingly admits Dostoevsky’s greatness, but always finds a way to marginalize him (bad antisemite, bad). For instance, Bloom compiled a book of criticism on Tolstoy where he took a chapter from Steiner’s work “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky’”, but somehow “forgot” to include parts from Steiner where Steiner openly expresses the view that Dostoevsky is deeper & more significant writer than Tolstoy (or at least, more relevant).

    Bloom’s weaknesses are sometimes laughable. Just a few rambling associations….

    Bloom’s”theory” is that Shakespeare’s characters change because they overhear themselves. Actually, this is a dramatic device, not necessary for, say, novels. Of course that Shakespeare’s characters are more vivid & memorable than most of his predecessors’, but this has nothing to do with this purely technical artifice. And his Bardolatry is absurd – even when writing on Kafka, he has to mention Shake as a creator of “shamanic cosmos”. He is right in his claim that Conrad was central formative influence on Faulkner & Fitzgerald, but re Hemingway- wrong; also, he wrote on Milton basically “overhearing” himself about Shakespeare. Nothing new.

    Bloom got it right that the ending of Goethe’s “Faust” is “cultural appropriation” of Dante & Catholic mythology, but in a creative way. Kudos for that.His chapters on Dickinson & Dickens & Eliot are his personal projections. Not much insight.

    Bloom's Whitman is good, but Bloom, a dedicated scholar of Gnosis, was unable to decipher Whitman’s psychic cartography & spiritual world-view. He got all mixed up (self, soul, myself,….)

    We are constantly reminded that T.S. Eliot was antisemitic. My goodness, how shocking ….

    Poldy Bllom's Tolstoy is good, but the heroism theme is overworked

    Freud is, according to Bloom, prosified Shakespeare who got all his ideas from Shake. This is obscurantist nonsense. Schopenhauer aside, Freud’s main influence was his work with Charcot & Pierre Janet (hypnotherapy & early personality theories). Freud, although a highly literate & cultured man, thought of himself as Darwin of the mind, a scientist, and his edifice (now crumbling) was built on a mixture of practice & psychological/philosophical paradigms, not a literature.

    Yale Professor's part on Proust is great in clearing away now dominant & annoying gay & Jewish obsessions. And: Woolf is “feminism as the love of reading”. Que?

    Kafka is given spiritual authority & then we are left wondering where this authority lies. Bloom quotes some Kafka’s quasi-gnostic aphorisms as the pinnacle of spiritual insight. Why not quote Heraclitus, Marcus Aurelius…. Karl Kraus. Nietzsche’s “Zarathustra” is a disaster, but Kafka is greater than, say, Mann or Faulkner because of- aphorisms & a few short stories (his novels suck). * Beckett is so overpraised that whole chapter is basically a good joke.

    On balance, Bloom is right in his denunciation of Derrida & Foucault & “School of Resentment”, but he could have written a much more insightful survey. Now, the fact that deranged lunatics still attack him, is not a statement on Bloom.

    It is is a judgement on America: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN

    Bloom is supersmart but perhaps not superaware of his own biases. But that’s fine.

  91. @Cortes
    Agreed on the art form of great literary criticism.

    A couple of Chilean examples may be of interest (maybe, just maybe).

    Dorfman &c “ How to Read Donald Duck” - a polemical approach to the Disney character.

    In contrast, Roberto Bolaño’s “Nazi Literature in the Americas” is a work of fiction which mimics to great effect the style of literary criticism which gained plaudits in the late 1960s/early 1970s in southern Latin America.

    The best example I’m aware of is the debunker of Freud, Frederick C. Crews, who launched his own missiles in the anaylses he produced for the spectacular “The Pooh Perplex.” If you haven’t read it get a copy and prepare for enjoyment.

    Shakespeare criticism can be a minor art form in itself, like Hazlitt or perhaps A.C. Bradley.

    • Replies: @Cortes
    I have too little knowledge of Shakespeare to be able to comment properly. Great Spanish playwrights are fixed in aspic or amber. Shakespeare is elastic, adaptable to every age.

    I remember a George Steiner essay on the use of bawdiness in ?Cymbeline. And my only knowledge of Hazlitt is “On the Pleasure of Hating” which ought to be the slogan (Scots Gaelic = warcry) of today.
  92. @Steve Sailer
    Shakespeare criticism can be a minor art form in itself, like Hazlitt or perhaps A.C. Bradley.

    I have too little knowledge of Shakespeare to be able to comment properly. Great Spanish playwrights are fixed in aspic or amber. Shakespeare is elastic, adaptable to every age.

    I remember a George Steiner essay on the use of bawdiness in ?Cymbeline. And my only knowledge of Hazlitt is “On the Pleasure of Hating” which ought to be the slogan (Scots Gaelic = warcry) of today.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Shakespeare is elastic, adaptable to every age.
     
    Not unlike good scripture. It is no coincidence that the most important book in late Western Civilization, the King James Bible, was composed not far from the Globe stage while Shakespeare's works were there appearing.
  93. @Anon
    I've read a whole string of obscure memoirs and travel books written in the 1800s by equally obscure names not taught in college and enjoyed the heck out of them. Academic fixation on fiction only is a real waste of time

    The late ninetenth century included a wave of anti-Mormon texts, and the early twentieth century had a smaller wave of anti-Catholic ones, and many of these are on archive dot org, and are enjoyable. One was an American priest in France describing why he left the church and the other was a chick who got married into Mormonism without knowing what it was, getting her revenge by describing its true history and secret rip-offs of Masonry.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Mormon temple ritual, and the temples themselves, are obvious Scottish Rite Freemasonry.
    However, Mormons are not allowed to be Masons, so they don't know this.
  94. @peterike

    That is to say, sooner or later, students and teachers are going to get terribly bored with all the technocratic social work going on now. There will be a return to aesthetic values and desires, or these people will simply do something else with their time.

     

    Bloom said this in 1991. Since then, it's gone peddle to the metal further in the "social work" direction. He also said:

    This intolerance, the self-congratulation, smugness, sanctimoniousness, the retreat from imaginative values, the flight from the aesthetic. It's not worth being truly outraged about. Eventually these people will provide their own antidote, because they will perish of boredom. I will win in the end

     

    So far I'd say it's Social Justice Warriors 100, Bloom 0. Not only hasn't his side made his predicted comeback, they've been routed and driven from the field entirely. What he got wrong was the boredom part. I guess he couldn't imagine the dopamine rush provided by non-stop outrage. Boredom? Students of literature have never been more excited.

    That’s exactly it. He couldn’t imagine the dopamine rush provided by nonstop outrage.

    Or, maybe the old guy just wasn’t pessimistic enough.

  95. @Bardon Kaldian
    I wrote already on the same topic....

    I’ve read 10 + Bloom’s books & he constantly harps on these authors: Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, Whitman, Tolstoy, Montaigne, Kafka, Freud, Samuel Johnson, Whitman, Dickens, Dickinson … George Eliot is lavishly praised for her philo-Semitism. Nathanael West is also his favorite.

    His fave authors not listed among those “narrowly canonical” are Swift, Richardson, Hart Crane & Wallace Stevens. Orwell, Camus, Garcia Marquez, …in his view overrated. O’Connor almost great, but her Catholicism annoys him. He openly hates Celine & especially P. Wyndham Lewis.

    Basically, he doesn’t understand German philosophical novel, so unenthusiastically admits greatness of Musil, but avoids Hermann Broch like a pest.

    He grudgingly admits Dostoevsky’s greatness, but always finds a way to marginalize him (bad antisemite, bad). For instance, Bloom compiled a book of criticism on Tolstoy where he took a chapter from Steiner’s work “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky’”, but somehow “forgot” to include parts from Steiner where Steiner openly expresses the view that Dostoevsky is deeper & more significant writer than Tolstoy (or at least, more relevant).

    Bloom’s weaknesses are sometimes laughable. Just a few rambling associations….

    Bloom’s”theory” is that Shakespeare’s characters change because they overhear themselves. Actually, this is a dramatic device, not necessary for, say, novels. Of course that Shakespeare’s characters are more vivid & memorable than most of his predecessors’, but this has nothing to do with this purely technical artifice. And his Bardolatry is absurd – even when writing on Kafka, he has to mention Shake as a creator of “shamanic cosmos”. He is right in his claim that Conrad was central formative influence on Faulkner & Fitzgerald, but re Hemingway- wrong; also, he wrote on Milton basically “overhearing” himself about Shakespeare. Nothing new.

    Bloom got it right that the ending of Goethe’s “Faust” is “cultural appropriation” of Dante & Catholic mythology, but in a creative way. Kudos for that.His chapters on Dickinson & Dickens & Eliot are his personal projections. Not much insight.

    Bloom's Whitman is good, but Bloom, a dedicated scholar of Gnosis, was unable to decipher Whitman’s psychic cartography & spiritual world-view. He got all mixed up (self, soul, myself,….)

    We are constantly reminded that T.S. Eliot was antisemitic. My goodness, how shocking ….

    Poldy Bllom's Tolstoy is good, but the heroism theme is overworked

    Freud is, according to Bloom, prosified Shakespeare who got all his ideas from Shake. This is obscurantist nonsense. Schopenhauer aside, Freud’s main influence was his work with Charcot & Pierre Janet (hypnotherapy & early personality theories). Freud, although a highly literate & cultured man, thought of himself as Darwin of the mind, a scientist, and his edifice (now crumbling) was built on a mixture of practice & psychological/philosophical paradigms, not a literature.

    Yale Professor's part on Proust is great in clearing away now dominant & annoying gay & Jewish obsessions. And: Woolf is “feminism as the love of reading”. Que?

    Kafka is given spiritual authority & then we are left wondering where this authority lies. Bloom quotes some Kafka’s quasi-gnostic aphorisms as the pinnacle of spiritual insight. Why not quote Heraclitus, Marcus Aurelius…. Karl Kraus. Nietzsche’s “Zarathustra” is a disaster, but Kafka is greater than, say, Mann or Faulkner because of- aphorisms & a few short stories (his novels suck). * Beckett is so overpraised that whole chapter is basically a good joke.

    On balance, Bloom is right in his denunciation of Derrida & Foucault & “School of Resentment”, but he could have written a much more insightful survey. Now, the fact that deranged lunatics still attack him, is not a statement on Bloom.

    It is is a judgement on America: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN

    Really interesting comment. Thanks.

  96. Anonymous[193] • Disclaimer says:
    @Clyde
    OT
    Tubman out on Twenty Dollar bill. File under - "Who says there is no good news"
    "Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has sparked outrage from lawmakers after announcing that American hero Harriet Tubman will not appear on the $20 bill as planned for 2020."

    Leave the paper money alone and put Marilyn Monroe on the dime to get rid of FDR.

  97. @peterike

    That is to say, sooner or later, students and teachers are going to get terribly bored with all the technocratic social work going on now. There will be a return to aesthetic values and desires, or these people will simply do something else with their time.

     

    Bloom said this in 1991. Since then, it's gone peddle to the metal further in the "social work" direction. He also said:

    This intolerance, the self-congratulation, smugness, sanctimoniousness, the retreat from imaginative values, the flight from the aesthetic. It's not worth being truly outraged about. Eventually these people will provide their own antidote, because they will perish of boredom. I will win in the end

     

    So far I'd say it's Social Justice Warriors 100, Bloom 0. Not only hasn't his side made his predicted comeback, they've been routed and driven from the field entirely. What he got wrong was the boredom part. I guess he couldn't imagine the dopamine rush provided by non-stop outrage. Boredom? Students of literature have never been more excited.

    I don’t know the exact numbers, but I thought the students in the humanities were dwindling pretty sharply. The ones that are still there are making plenty of noise, thank you social media, but I think there’s a lot less of them.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    About 35% of all undergraduates obtain degrees in an academic subject or in the performing and studio arts. About 18% of this subset are studying the humanities. In 1970, about 12% of each cohort was cadging a degree in an academic / artistic subject. Now it might be 16%. There's been more continuity than change. What is disturbing is how few people study foreign languages other than Spanish.
  98. Anonymous[193] • Disclaimer says:
    @J.Ross
    The late ninetenth century included a wave of anti-Mormon texts, and the early twentieth century had a smaller wave of anti-Catholic ones, and many of these are on archive dot org, and are enjoyable. One was an American priest in France describing why he left the church and the other was a chick who got married into Mormonism without knowing what it was, getting her revenge by describing its true history and secret rip-offs of Masonry.

    Mormon temple ritual, and the temples themselves, are obvious Scottish Rite Freemasonry.
    However, Mormons are not allowed to be Masons, so they don’t know this.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Individual Mormons (who disproportionately populate our military like Red Indians) are often the nicest and hardest working people you can meet, but they can be gullible, or, when they come out of Mormonism, have a tragic tone about them. The simplicity of the Mormon deception is almost unbelievably shocking. As you rise in status you are rewarded with pedagogically useless one-time "lessons" (expecting instant memorization) of little Masonic hand gestures. It doesn't matter that they're "taught" so uselessly because you'll never use them again and are forbidden to discuss them. It's like Amway sapphires but dumber.
  99. @Anonymous
    Bloom is endlessly quotable. His interviews are always must-reads: he combines incredible literacy with cutting humor and complete indifference to political correctness. One of my favorite appearances of his was on the Charlie Rose show: Charlie brought up Maya Angelou and Bloom shot her down as talentless. Rose persisted, and Bloom responded (going from memory here)

    Charlie, Charlie...Oscar Wilde said that all bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. So as to the question of whether Maya Angelou is a "good" poet, I'll say only that she's very genuine
     
    Another favorite, from an interview in the Paris Review:

    Denis Donoghue, in his review of Ruin The Sacred Truths, described me as the Satan of literary criticism. That I take as an involuntary compliment.
     

    I made the mistake of looking for an interview with Bloom on youtube. I found one from June 2018. He is leaning over way to the right. Looks like maybe a stroke. Who knows. Maybe it was a temporary injury from tennis but he is 88. I don’t think he is reading 100’s pages an hour ever again.

  100. @Bardon Kaldian
    I wrote already on the same topic....

    I’ve read 10 + Bloom’s books & he constantly harps on these authors: Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, Whitman, Tolstoy, Montaigne, Kafka, Freud, Samuel Johnson, Whitman, Dickens, Dickinson … George Eliot is lavishly praised for her philo-Semitism. Nathanael West is also his favorite.

    His fave authors not listed among those “narrowly canonical” are Swift, Richardson, Hart Crane & Wallace Stevens. Orwell, Camus, Garcia Marquez, …in his view overrated. O’Connor almost great, but her Catholicism annoys him. He openly hates Celine & especially P. Wyndham Lewis.

    Basically, he doesn’t understand German philosophical novel, so unenthusiastically admits greatness of Musil, but avoids Hermann Broch like a pest.

    He grudgingly admits Dostoevsky’s greatness, but always finds a way to marginalize him (bad antisemite, bad). For instance, Bloom compiled a book of criticism on Tolstoy where he took a chapter from Steiner’s work “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky’”, but somehow “forgot” to include parts from Steiner where Steiner openly expresses the view that Dostoevsky is deeper & more significant writer than Tolstoy (or at least, more relevant).

    Bloom’s weaknesses are sometimes laughable. Just a few rambling associations….

    Bloom’s”theory” is that Shakespeare’s characters change because they overhear themselves. Actually, this is a dramatic device, not necessary for, say, novels. Of course that Shakespeare’s characters are more vivid & memorable than most of his predecessors’, but this has nothing to do with this purely technical artifice. And his Bardolatry is absurd – even when writing on Kafka, he has to mention Shake as a creator of “shamanic cosmos”. He is right in his claim that Conrad was central formative influence on Faulkner & Fitzgerald, but re Hemingway- wrong; also, he wrote on Milton basically “overhearing” himself about Shakespeare. Nothing new.

    Bloom got it right that the ending of Goethe’s “Faust” is “cultural appropriation” of Dante & Catholic mythology, but in a creative way. Kudos for that.His chapters on Dickinson & Dickens & Eliot are his personal projections. Not much insight.

    Bloom's Whitman is good, but Bloom, a dedicated scholar of Gnosis, was unable to decipher Whitman’s psychic cartography & spiritual world-view. He got all mixed up (self, soul, myself,….)

    We are constantly reminded that T.S. Eliot was antisemitic. My goodness, how shocking ….

    Poldy Bllom's Tolstoy is good, but the heroism theme is overworked

    Freud is, according to Bloom, prosified Shakespeare who got all his ideas from Shake. This is obscurantist nonsense. Schopenhauer aside, Freud’s main influence was his work with Charcot & Pierre Janet (hypnotherapy & early personality theories). Freud, although a highly literate & cultured man, thought of himself as Darwin of the mind, a scientist, and his edifice (now crumbling) was built on a mixture of practice & psychological/philosophical paradigms, not a literature.

    Yale Professor's part on Proust is great in clearing away now dominant & annoying gay & Jewish obsessions. And: Woolf is “feminism as the love of reading”. Que?

    Kafka is given spiritual authority & then we are left wondering where this authority lies. Bloom quotes some Kafka’s quasi-gnostic aphorisms as the pinnacle of spiritual insight. Why not quote Heraclitus, Marcus Aurelius…. Karl Kraus. Nietzsche’s “Zarathustra” is a disaster, but Kafka is greater than, say, Mann or Faulkner because of- aphorisms & a few short stories (his novels suck). * Beckett is so overpraised that whole chapter is basically a good joke.

    On balance, Bloom is right in his denunciation of Derrida & Foucault & “School of Resentment”, but he could have written a much more insightful survey. Now, the fact that deranged lunatics still attack him, is not a statement on Bloom.

    It is is a judgement on America: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN

    The writing is indeed on the wall. Remains to be seen whether we heed it in time.

  101. @Cortes
    I have too little knowledge of Shakespeare to be able to comment properly. Great Spanish playwrights are fixed in aspic or amber. Shakespeare is elastic, adaptable to every age.

    I remember a George Steiner essay on the use of bawdiness in ?Cymbeline. And my only knowledge of Hazlitt is “On the Pleasure of Hating” which ought to be the slogan (Scots Gaelic = warcry) of today.

    Shakespeare is elastic, adaptable to every age.

    Not unlike good scripture. It is no coincidence that the most important book in late Western Civilization, the King James Bible, was composed not far from the Globe stage while Shakespeare’s works were there appearing.

  102. @PiltdownMan

    Whit Stillman already did this in Metropolitan. The outsider James says he doesn’t read novels, just criticism, because it’s more efficient: You get the best parts of the book plus critical opinion.
     
    A lot of people think like that—which is the reason why The New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books have each enjoyed a steady subscriber base for decades.

    There’s also the Times Literary Supplement. It and the London Review of books are (or were) excellent publications. When I worked for a large reference book publisher I had access to them. For a couple of years, I read a lot about books, but no books. I finally had to break the book review habit and start reading books again.

  103. @Anonymous
    Part of the reason for this is that most philosophy departments in the US are monopolized by analytic philosophy. Thus continental philosophy, the history of philosophy, intellectual history, etc., have migrated to other departments and "studies", chiefly comparative literature and English departments.

    Another big reason for the emphasis on criticism in academia is because universities and academics have to justify themselves and the thousands of dollars in tuition. Anyone can borrow famous works of literature for free at the library and read them at home. If the professor is basically just hosting a book club and providing little more than background information to texts that can be gleaned from a reference work, there's really no reason to spend thousands on a class. Academics have to be providing something more esoteric and inaccessible, and that's criticism and theory.

    I’m not in close touch with philosophy departments, but I’m skeptical about this claim. Back when I was a grad student at a major university (1968–72), analytic philosophy was he dominant approach (although I had courses in Hegel and Nietzsche). These days I believe that phenomenology and the grievance-oriented approaches are well represented.

  104. Pail Ricoeur uses a similar expression, the “hermeneutics of suspicion”, to characterize Marxism and other undermining approaches.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    Pail Ricoeur uses a similar expression, the “hermeneutics of suspicion”, to characterize Marxism and other undermining approaches.
     
    That's the root of the evil. It fails tit-for-tat before you even get a chance to play. It trades away our birthright (a high-trust society) for a mess of cynical cum nihilist know-it-all pottage.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_Tat
  105. @MBlanc46
    Pail Ricoeur uses a similar expression, the “hermeneutics of suspicion”, to characterize Marxism and other undermining approaches.

    Pail Ricoeur uses a similar expression, the “hermeneutics of suspicion”, to characterize Marxism and other undermining approaches.

    That’s the root of the evil. It fails tit-for-tat before you even get a chance to play. It trades away our birthright (a high-trust society) for a mess of cynical cum nihilist know-it-all pottage.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_Tat

  106. Yale professor of women’s studies outs Pete Buttigieg as an undercover agent of hetero-normative whiteness:

    https://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/essays/heterosexuality-without-women/

    Some guys just can’t catch a break.

  107. I bailed out of English Lit grad school back in 1977 because I could see that political people who had no real interest in (or love for) the arts were about to take the field over.

  108. @Anonymous
    Part of the reason for this is that most philosophy departments in the US are monopolized by analytic philosophy. Thus continental philosophy, the history of philosophy, intellectual history, etc., have migrated to other departments and "studies", chiefly comparative literature and English departments.

    Another big reason for the emphasis on criticism in academia is because universities and academics have to justify themselves and the thousands of dollars in tuition. Anyone can borrow famous works of literature for free at the library and read them at home. If the professor is basically just hosting a book club and providing little more than background information to texts that can be gleaned from a reference work, there's really no reason to spend thousands on a class. Academics have to be providing something more esoteric and inaccessible, and that's criticism and theory.

    Academics have to be providing something more esoteric and inaccessible, and that’s criticism and theory.

    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it’s just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins is work, and specialized work at that. Far easier for both the teacher and the student to simply learn what others think about Dostoevsky than to actually understand him well enough to see the world through his eyes.

    The education industry grows by lowering academic standards, first for the students, then necessarily for the people who will teach them. Today’s academics are lazier and dimmer, on average, than those of a century ago, I’d wager, in rough proportion to the students they teach.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it’s just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins is work, and specialized work at that. Far easier for both the teacher and the student to simply learn what others think about Dostoevsky than to actually understand him well enough to see the world through his eyes.

     

    Good comment. When I was an undergraduate English major at an obscure liberal arts college, some of my friends who were studying other majors were mystified when I said that most of my professors didn't lecture much, if at all.

    So what do you do with all that class time?

    Well . . . we talk about what we read.

    What, with no plan or direction?

    Not always, not completely, but sometimes it really is just like that.

    So what the hell do you learn?

    I don't think I gave very good answers to that question 30 years ago, but I think I understand better now. I learned to step into other times, other places, other minds and ways of thinking. I learned to read in ways that only poetry and fiction can foster. I did indeed learn to face big questions by looking through the eyes of others, some of whom saw far and saw clearly, and eventually by looking through my own eyes, too.

    It saddens me to see this field of study reduced to a shriveled husk, clinging to its branch on the tree of knowledge only by inertia, like a cicada skin whose inhabitant has sung its brief song and surrendered.

    , @Desiderius

    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it’s just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins
     
    But it’s not - it’s Mitya, and Vanya, and Alyosha, and Smerdwhatshisface, and the crazy dad, and the women straight out of Roissy, and before you know it your intellectual “virgins” (of course they’re not, their minds have been racing since before they were born, desperate to make sense of this crazy world) are utterly dumbfounded that some Russian dork a hundred years ago was writing about the exact same shit they’re dealing with in their own lives and all of a sudden the universe isn’t this alien, unwelcoming place where they feel all alone and totally misunderstood.

    That is what great literature is for.
  109. @ThreeCranes
    Isn't that why, formerly, our professors incessantly hammered home the notion of "original sources" in our reading lists? We were instructed not to read commentary until we had read the original--except for Hegel who was unintelligible even after reading all the secondary sources.

    It does make one wonder whether the students who squawk about this stuff ever read what it is they loathe so much. Wonder if, in fact, they deride and berate it precisely to avoid having to dig in and digest it. So much easier to dismiss it as contemptible.

    You can't help but wonder too if this is related to the general lowering of admission standards to American universities. It may be that today's crop of students are simply incapable of handling the material that comprises the core of Western thinking. If they're unwilling to own their own inability--and who isn't--then tossing their feces at it is all they've got.

    A comfortable majority of those matriculating are there to obtain credentials in vocational subjects. They’re taking academic courses because it’s required for the degree. And the vast majority of those following vocational courses and those following academics and arts are there for the general signaling function of a BA degree. The object of the students is to get through it. The faculty are not responding to students, they’re expressing their own interior disorders.

  110. Today’s academics are lazier and dimmer, on average, than those of a century ago, I’d wager,

    About 1% of the working population has a faculty position of some sort. Academe absorbs a great many people who might have been doing something more socially useful in 1928, but then as now it consists of people who have ample intelligence if nothing else. They have lighter teaching loads than was once the case, but publish a great deal more.

    • Replies: @blank-misgivings
    We don't think more though. Always interesting to go back and read old academic journal articles. The quality in the humanities and social sciences probably peaked in the 1950's and 1960's, when the disciplines had been professionalized but not yet thoroughly politicized.
  111. @stillCARealist
    I don't know the exact numbers, but I thought the students in the humanities were dwindling pretty sharply. The ones that are still there are making plenty of noise, thank you social media, but I think there's a lot less of them.

    About 35% of all undergraduates obtain degrees in an academic subject or in the performing and studio arts. About 18% of this subset are studying the humanities. In 1970, about 12% of each cohort was cadging a degree in an academic / artistic subject. Now it might be 16%. There’s been more continuity than change. What is disturbing is how few people study foreign languages other than Spanish.

  112. @Dr ExCathedra
    The joys of the Inclusive Canon.

    The Norton Anthology of Western Literature now includes 20 pages of selections from....the Koran.

    The Norton Anthology of Western Literature now includes 20 pages of selections from….the Koran.

    Western compared to, uhhh, India. Please buy this new edition, edited by the most deserving!

  113. @Clyde
    I like the way he dropped the three f-bombs, in a way that made sense.

    Yeah he’s really keepin it real yo

  114. @Craig Nelsen

    Academics have to be providing something more esoteric and inaccessible, and that’s criticism and theory.
     
    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it's just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins is work, and specialized work at that. Far easier for both the teacher and the student to simply learn what others think about Dostoevsky than to actually understand him well enough to see the world through his eyes.

    The education industry grows by lowering academic standards, first for the students, then necessarily for the people who will teach them. Today's academics are lazier and dimmer, on average, than those of a century ago, I'd wager, in rough proportion to the students they teach.


    https://youtu.be/LjHORRHXtyI

    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it’s just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins is work, and specialized work at that. Far easier for both the teacher and the student to simply learn what others think about Dostoevsky than to actually understand him well enough to see the world through his eyes.

    Good comment. When I was an undergraduate English major at an obscure liberal arts college, some of my friends who were studying other majors were mystified when I said that most of my professors didn’t lecture much, if at all.

    So what do you do with all that class time?

    Well . . . we talk about what we read.

    What, with no plan or direction?

    Not always, not completely, but sometimes it really is just like that.

    So what the hell do you learn?

    I don’t think I gave very good answers to that question 30 years ago, but I think I understand better now. I learned to step into other times, other places, other minds and ways of thinking. I learned to read in ways that only poetry and fiction can foster. I did indeed learn to face big questions by looking through the eyes of others, some of whom saw far and saw clearly, and eventually by looking through my own eyes, too.

    It saddens me to see this field of study reduced to a shriveled husk, clinging to its branch on the tree of knowledge only by inertia, like a cicada skin whose inhabitant has sung its brief song and surrendered.

    • Replies: @simple_pseudonymic_handle
    If you go back 40-50 years you can probably find commiseration with a bunch of Greek and Latin scholars.

    I read a book about six months ago, The Lost Italian Renaissance by Christopher Celenza, and his epilogue is that there is a complete universe of unread Latin archives (as in not one scholar has looked at them since they were filed in library stacks 500 years ago) and nobody cares. He cares but he's only one guy and apparently he is pretty lonely.
    , @Craig Nelsen

    I learned to step into other times, other places, other minds and ways of thinking. I learned to read in ways that only poetry and fiction can foster. I did indeed learn to face big questions by looking through the eyes of others, some of whom saw far and saw clearly, and eventually by looking through my own eyes, too.
     
    Bingo. Learning to think is the whole point of an education. Everything else (medical school, and so on) is just training--necessary and useful, but something else completely.

    And mostly not even necessary or useful. Every year, another wave of bright young political science majors washes across DC whose thinking resembles the way a calculator "thinks". Your last line captures the sadness perfectly. I'd add "painful" and "frightening".
  115. @Cortes
    Agreed on the art form of great literary criticism.

    A couple of Chilean examples may be of interest (maybe, just maybe).

    Dorfman &c “ How to Read Donald Duck” - a polemical approach to the Disney character.

    In contrast, Roberto Bolaño’s “Nazi Literature in the Americas” is a work of fiction which mimics to great effect the style of literary criticism which gained plaudits in the late 1960s/early 1970s in southern Latin America.

    The best example I’m aware of is the debunker of Freud, Frederick C. Crews, who launched his own missiles in the anaylses he produced for the spectacular “The Pooh Perplex.” If you haven’t read it get a copy and prepare for enjoyment.

    The best example I’m aware of is the debunker of Freud, Frederick C. Crews, who launched his own missiles in the anaylses he produced for the spectacular “The Pooh Perplex.” If you haven’t read it get a copy and prepare for enjoyment.

    Crews is indeed, a formidable polemicist. One of the best.

  116. @Craig Nelsen

    Academics have to be providing something more esoteric and inaccessible, and that’s criticism and theory.
     
    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it's just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins is work, and specialized work at that. Far easier for both the teacher and the student to simply learn what others think about Dostoevsky than to actually understand him well enough to see the world through his eyes.

    The education industry grows by lowering academic standards, first for the students, then necessarily for the people who will teach them. Today's academics are lazier and dimmer, on average, than those of a century ago, I'd wager, in rough proportion to the students they teach.


    https://youtu.be/LjHORRHXtyI

    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it’s just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins

    But it’s not – it’s Mitya, and Vanya, and Alyosha, and Smerdwhatshisface, and the crazy dad, and the women straight out of Roissy, and before you know it your intellectual “virgins” (of course they’re not, their minds have been racing since before they were born, desperate to make sense of this crazy world) are utterly dumbfounded that some Russian dork a hundred years ago was writing about the exact same shit they’re dealing with in their own lives and all of a sudden the universe isn’t this alien, unwelcoming place where they feel all alone and totally misunderstood.

    That is what great literature is for.

  117. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it’s just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins is work, and specialized work at that. Far easier for both the teacher and the student to simply learn what others think about Dostoevsky than to actually understand him well enough to see the world through his eyes.

     

    Good comment. When I was an undergraduate English major at an obscure liberal arts college, some of my friends who were studying other majors were mystified when I said that most of my professors didn't lecture much, if at all.

    So what do you do with all that class time?

    Well . . . we talk about what we read.

    What, with no plan or direction?

    Not always, not completely, but sometimes it really is just like that.

    So what the hell do you learn?

    I don't think I gave very good answers to that question 30 years ago, but I think I understand better now. I learned to step into other times, other places, other minds and ways of thinking. I learned to read in ways that only poetry and fiction can foster. I did indeed learn to face big questions by looking through the eyes of others, some of whom saw far and saw clearly, and eventually by looking through my own eyes, too.

    It saddens me to see this field of study reduced to a shriveled husk, clinging to its branch on the tree of knowledge only by inertia, like a cicada skin whose inhabitant has sung its brief song and surrendered.

    If you go back 40-50 years you can probably find commiseration with a bunch of Greek and Latin scholars.

    I read a book about six months ago, The Lost Italian Renaissance by Christopher Celenza, and his epilogue is that there is a complete universe of unread Latin archives (as in not one scholar has looked at them since they were filed in library stacks 500 years ago) and nobody cares. He cares but he’s only one guy and apparently he is pretty lonely.

  118. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Anonymous
    Mormon temple ritual, and the temples themselves, are obvious Scottish Rite Freemasonry.
    However, Mormons are not allowed to be Masons, so they don't know this.

    Individual Mormons (who disproportionately populate our military like Red Indians) are often the nicest and hardest working people you can meet, but they can be gullible, or, when they come out of Mormonism, have a tragic tone about them. The simplicity of the Mormon deception is almost unbelievably shocking. As you rise in status you are rewarded with pedagogically useless one-time “lessons” (expecting instant memorization) of little Masonic hand gestures. It doesn’t matter that they’re “taught” so uselessly because you’ll never use them again and are forbidden to discuss them. It’s like Amway sapphires but dumber.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    Amway is a bizarre parallel universe and "functions" are hoot to attend as an outsider for the entertainment value.
  119. @Art Deco
    Today’s academics are lazier and dimmer, on average, than those of a century ago, I’d wager,

    About 1% of the working population has a faculty position of some sort. Academe absorbs a great many people who might have been doing something more socially useful in 1928, but then as now it consists of people who have ample intelligence if nothing else. They have lighter teaching loads than was once the case, but publish a great deal more.

    We don’t think more though. Always interesting to go back and read old academic journal articles. The quality in the humanities and social sciences probably peaked in the 1950’s and 1960’s, when the disciplines had been professionalized but not yet thoroughly politicized.

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    Not sure what disciplines to which you're referring. The one's I'm roughly acquainted with, I don't see it that way, because they benefited from quantification. One of them actually is inundated with dreck, but it's a minor discipline that has long needed to be put in receivership.
  120. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @J.Ross
    Individual Mormons (who disproportionately populate our military like Red Indians) are often the nicest and hardest working people you can meet, but they can be gullible, or, when they come out of Mormonism, have a tragic tone about them. The simplicity of the Mormon deception is almost unbelievably shocking. As you rise in status you are rewarded with pedagogically useless one-time "lessons" (expecting instant memorization) of little Masonic hand gestures. It doesn't matter that they're "taught" so uselessly because you'll never use them again and are forbidden to discuss them. It's like Amway sapphires but dumber.

    Amway is a bizarre parallel universe and “functions” are hoot to attend as an outsider for the entertainment value.

  121. @Anon
    When you're young, you want to learn about people and life experiences you haven't yet had yourself, so you like novels. When you're older, you want to learn about the world. You want facts, and novels come across as feeble and stupid because you've finally acquired enough experience to tell if they're poorly conceived or not. If you were someone who never read much while young and skipped the novel phase, novels will always come across as stupid if you dip into them later in life.

    A dismissive attitude toward the great novels reminds me of Lichtenberg’s wonderful epigram: “A book is a mirror: if a monkey looks into it you can’t expect an apostle to look out.”
    This applies equally to people like Bloom, who lives for the most outrageous flights of imagination, flights from reality. Ironically, he forces himself to read Swift’s “A Tale of a Tub” frequently as a corrective or tether–he supposes Swift’s imaginative work functions as a corrective to the dangerous prevalence of his imagination.

  122. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Digging into The Brothers Karamasov when it’s just you, the author, and a classroom full of intellectual virgins is work, and specialized work at that. Far easier for both the teacher and the student to simply learn what others think about Dostoevsky than to actually understand him well enough to see the world through his eyes.

     

    Good comment. When I was an undergraduate English major at an obscure liberal arts college, some of my friends who were studying other majors were mystified when I said that most of my professors didn't lecture much, if at all.

    So what do you do with all that class time?

    Well . . . we talk about what we read.

    What, with no plan or direction?

    Not always, not completely, but sometimes it really is just like that.

    So what the hell do you learn?

    I don't think I gave very good answers to that question 30 years ago, but I think I understand better now. I learned to step into other times, other places, other minds and ways of thinking. I learned to read in ways that only poetry and fiction can foster. I did indeed learn to face big questions by looking through the eyes of others, some of whom saw far and saw clearly, and eventually by looking through my own eyes, too.

    It saddens me to see this field of study reduced to a shriveled husk, clinging to its branch on the tree of knowledge only by inertia, like a cicada skin whose inhabitant has sung its brief song and surrendered.

    I learned to step into other times, other places, other minds and ways of thinking. I learned to read in ways that only poetry and fiction can foster. I did indeed learn to face big questions by looking through the eyes of others, some of whom saw far and saw clearly, and eventually by looking through my own eyes, too.

    Bingo. Learning to think is the whole point of an education. Everything else (medical school, and so on) is just training–necessary and useful, but something else completely.

    And mostly not even necessary or useful. Every year, another wave of bright young political science majors washes across DC whose thinking resembles the way a calculator “thinks”. Your last line captures the sadness perfectly. I’d add “painful” and “frightening”.

  123. @Bardon Kaldian
    I wrote already on the same topic....

    I’ve read 10 + Bloom’s books & he constantly harps on these authors: Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, Milton, Whitman, Tolstoy, Montaigne, Kafka, Freud, Samuel Johnson, Whitman, Dickens, Dickinson … George Eliot is lavishly praised for her philo-Semitism. Nathanael West is also his favorite.

    His fave authors not listed among those “narrowly canonical” are Swift, Richardson, Hart Crane & Wallace Stevens. Orwell, Camus, Garcia Marquez, …in his view overrated. O’Connor almost great, but her Catholicism annoys him. He openly hates Celine & especially P. Wyndham Lewis.

    Basically, he doesn’t understand German philosophical novel, so unenthusiastically admits greatness of Musil, but avoids Hermann Broch like a pest.

    He grudgingly admits Dostoevsky’s greatness, but always finds a way to marginalize him (bad antisemite, bad). For instance, Bloom compiled a book of criticism on Tolstoy where he took a chapter from Steiner’s work “Tolstoy or Dostoevsky’”, but somehow “forgot” to include parts from Steiner where Steiner openly expresses the view that Dostoevsky is deeper & more significant writer than Tolstoy (or at least, more relevant).

    Bloom’s weaknesses are sometimes laughable. Just a few rambling associations….

    Bloom’s”theory” is that Shakespeare’s characters change because they overhear themselves. Actually, this is a dramatic device, not necessary for, say, novels. Of course that Shakespeare’s characters are more vivid & memorable than most of his predecessors’, but this has nothing to do with this purely technical artifice. And his Bardolatry is absurd – even when writing on Kafka, he has to mention Shake as a creator of “shamanic cosmos”. He is right in his claim that Conrad was central formative influence on Faulkner & Fitzgerald, but re Hemingway- wrong; also, he wrote on Milton basically “overhearing” himself about Shakespeare. Nothing new.

    Bloom got it right that the ending of Goethe’s “Faust” is “cultural appropriation” of Dante & Catholic mythology, but in a creative way. Kudos for that.His chapters on Dickinson & Dickens & Eliot are his personal projections. Not much insight.

    Bloom's Whitman is good, but Bloom, a dedicated scholar of Gnosis, was unable to decipher Whitman’s psychic cartography & spiritual world-view. He got all mixed up (self, soul, myself,….)

    We are constantly reminded that T.S. Eliot was antisemitic. My goodness, how shocking ….

    Poldy Bllom's Tolstoy is good, but the heroism theme is overworked

    Freud is, according to Bloom, prosified Shakespeare who got all his ideas from Shake. This is obscurantist nonsense. Schopenhauer aside, Freud’s main influence was his work with Charcot & Pierre Janet (hypnotherapy & early personality theories). Freud, although a highly literate & cultured man, thought of himself as Darwin of the mind, a scientist, and his edifice (now crumbling) was built on a mixture of practice & psychological/philosophical paradigms, not a literature.

    Yale Professor's part on Proust is great in clearing away now dominant & annoying gay & Jewish obsessions. And: Woolf is “feminism as the love of reading”. Que?

    Kafka is given spiritual authority & then we are left wondering where this authority lies. Bloom quotes some Kafka’s quasi-gnostic aphorisms as the pinnacle of spiritual insight. Why not quote Heraclitus, Marcus Aurelius…. Karl Kraus. Nietzsche’s “Zarathustra” is a disaster, but Kafka is greater than, say, Mann or Faulkner because of- aphorisms & a few short stories (his novels suck). * Beckett is so overpraised that whole chapter is basically a good joke.

    On balance, Bloom is right in his denunciation of Derrida & Foucault & “School of Resentment”, but he could have written a much more insightful survey. Now, the fact that deranged lunatics still attack him, is not a statement on Bloom.

    It is is a judgement on America: MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN

    You’re wrong about quite a lot. Freud, to begin with: his work comes out of Shakespeare and Nietzsche primarily. He magically converted their gold to his silver and bronze and bile. Though he received first rate scientific training, he consciously chose to be one of the great 20th century Jewish anti-scientists (much like Boaz and Lewontin), who aggressively imposed what he called his “scientific” system on the world. At bottom, he is exactly what Bloom nails him as: a mythologist of human psychology.

    Where is the self-overhearing “dramatic device” of Shakespeare to be found in Sophocles, Seneca, or Marlowe? It was invented by Shakespeare because he needed it to achieve his representational vision–and the others did not. His innovation cannot be reduced to a device; it was invented to expand the possibilities of representing human consciousness on stage. This is one of the ways he enabled his principal characters to appear to be what Hegel called “free artists of themselves.”

    The chapter on Dickinson is probably the best in his “Western Canon” book, and he certainly appreciates far more of the great George Eliot than her philo-Jewishness.

    As to Bloom’s Jewish sympathies: my impression is that they only become obscene in his discussions of Freud. Even when they recognize he was a con man, some of the most brilliant Jews (like Wittgenstein) still love Freud for his deeply Jewish-centric view of the world.

    Bloom is a case in point of the dictum that everyone is conservative about subjects in which they are experts. He’s a lifelong socialist who nevertheless defends spiritual hierarchy in his field.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    self-overhearing “dramatic device” of Shakespeare

    What's an example of this from Hamlet?

    , @Bardon Kaldian
    Well, I don't intend to discuss this seriously- it isn't that important. So, just a few remarks:
    you may have an impression that I claimed Bloom's work was worthless (or of minor importance) because of his Jewish self-delusions & identity-myopia. This is not the case.

    Bloom is a major literary critic & a very erudite imaginative literature connoisseur; yet, he is- in my opinion- not equal to truly great literary theorists like Mikhail Bakhtin, Northrop Frye, Erich Auerbach, Ernst Curtius or Bruno Snell, who enlarged fields of our cognition & wisdom. He is more entertaining & perhaps more informed & erudite, but not nearly as "deep" or original as them. Be as it may- Bloom is a force for good, in most cases.

    As for Freud, you are mostly wrong. It is true that there was a streak of charlatanism in him, but this is such a field (an attempt to describe the entire human behavior & motivation) that anyone working on it must have possessed that trait. Freud's theory is, ultimately, a powerful mythology (Wittgenstein), but Freud's chief drive was not to deceive anyone, but to discover universals of human psychological life which would be- he thought- confirmed by later developments of empirical sciences. He literally considered himself to be the Darwin of the mind. There are tons of serious books on Freud (I gave links to some of them, some time before) & this is not the issue. The point is that Freud is not "Shakespeare prosified", as Bloom claims. This is just a projection of one of Bloom's obsessions: Shakespeare, Freud, Whitman, Gnosticism,...

    Then, Blooms's claim (in WC) is that self-overhearing in Shakespeare fundamentally enlarged human self-consciousness. Bollocks. Writers who wrote in other genres & times (Plato, Montaigne, Richardson, Dostoevsky, ..) did not use that device & they achieved as much or more. For instance, George Steiner (a Jew, if you like), in his "The Poetry of Thought" persuasively claims that the greatest character in all of literature is Plato's Socrates (no self-overhearing). Anyway, this is a matter of opinion & Bloom, following his Bardolatry, makes fool of himself with this statement (which he boringly repeats in his other books).

    I find the chapter on Dickinson (another Bloom's fave) boring & one-dimensional (for instance, Bloom did not address certain infantilism of her work) & more- why is she there, anyway? Bloom did not include globally important supreme writers & writers-philosophers (Petrarch, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche,..) & yet, he gives us Dickinson & Eliot. From any rational perspective, the most influential 19th C poet is Baudelaire & the most influential 19th C novelist (not the greatest) is Flaubert; Dostoevsky is one of 5-10 supreme world writers & is not included in Bloom's core canon.

    Sorry, this is very prejudiced.

    And, of course, eventually, it all comes down to......Jews. My impression is that you thought I was an anti-Semite (no, I am not). Also, my few objections to Bloom were not, centrally, about his Jewish identity or his Jewish sympathies, but about his weird Anglo-centrism in literature & crazy subjectivity which stuffed his core canon with too much writers who are not "globally important", while he consciously omitted supremely influential or still important authors from Petrarch to Dostoevsky (here, Bloom's Jewish ethnic super-sensitivity is on display, especially having in mind that the best & greatest Dostoevsky's critics & biographers have been ethnic Jews like George Steiner or Joseph Frank).

    Freud's world-view is not "Jewish-centric" & he is a great failed scientist & doubtless one of the greatest essayists, but by now, I'm tired of anything & everything Jewish....

    Anyway: a) Bloom is a force for good, b) his "School of Resentment" label is funny & great, c) his idiosyncrasies are many & I don't see why I, or anyone else, would not mention them.
  124. @Craken
    You're wrong about quite a lot. Freud, to begin with: his work comes out of Shakespeare and Nietzsche primarily. He magically converted their gold to his silver and bronze and bile. Though he received first rate scientific training, he consciously chose to be one of the great 20th century Jewish anti-scientists (much like Boaz and Lewontin), who aggressively imposed what he called his "scientific" system on the world. At bottom, he is exactly what Bloom nails him as: a mythologist of human psychology.

    Where is the self-overhearing "dramatic device" of Shakespeare to be found in Sophocles, Seneca, or Marlowe? It was invented by Shakespeare because he needed it to achieve his representational vision--and the others did not. His innovation cannot be reduced to a device; it was invented to expand the possibilities of representing human consciousness on stage. This is one of the ways he enabled his principal characters to appear to be what Hegel called "free artists of themselves."

    The chapter on Dickinson is probably the best in his "Western Canon" book, and he certainly appreciates far more of the great George Eliot than her philo-Jewishness.

    As to Bloom's Jewish sympathies: my impression is that they only become obscene in his discussions of Freud. Even when they recognize he was a con man, some of the most brilliant Jews (like Wittgenstein) still love Freud for his deeply Jewish-centric view of the world.

    Bloom is a case in point of the dictum that everyone is conservative about subjects in which they are experts. He's a lifelong socialist who nevertheless defends spiritual hierarchy in his field.

    self-overhearing “dramatic device” of Shakespeare

    What’s an example of this from Hamlet?

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    What isn’t? He is Bloom’s ultimate example of the phenomenon and Shakespeare’s critique of Plato’s Philosopher King in that everyone ends up dead.

    Hamlet was the opposite of Machiavelli’s oft in error, never in doubt Prince, which ends up buying him little more than paralysis by analysis.

    Better Arthur and Merlin, arts and sciences, Alexander and Aristotle than Melchizedek alone.
    , @Craken
    Hamlet's struggle is to find his way out of his deep well of solipsism, his condition at the play's beginning. There is a kind of perverse symmetry in how much Hamlet hears himself and how little he hears others. Commenter Desiderius is right: what isn't an example of Hamlet talking to and carefully listening to himself? This is why Shakespeare gives Hamlet the lines telling actors how to act; his human interactions are almost all acting on his side.

    Bloom finds self-overhearing mainly in the monologues, and those are obviously the clearest instances. But the self-obsessed Prince also achieves his peculiar continuous self-education in "dialogue." When he explains to Horatio how he rescued himself from the King's order of execution, he says:

    Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
    That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
    Worse than the mutineers in the bilboes. Rashly,
    and praised be rashness for it--let us know,
    Our indiscretion sometime serves us well,
    When our deep plots do pall; and that should learn us
    There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough-hew them how we will--

    He interrupts the flow of his narration to accommodate the lesson he draws--from himself. His escape was a turn toward action, yet when he begins his narrative here he conceives a post-hoc justification for action. He sustains this new perspective on action when he rejects Horatio's plea to evade Laertes' challenge to fence. He swings far the other way, now reckless, even doom eager to face the man he gravely offended before the King who seeks his death. What should have been his way into life--action--ironically becomes another escape.
  125. @Steve Sailer
    self-overhearing “dramatic device” of Shakespeare

    What's an example of this from Hamlet?

    What isn’t? He is Bloom’s ultimate example of the phenomenon and Shakespeare’s critique of Plato’s Philosopher King in that everyone ends up dead.

    Hamlet was the opposite of Machiavelli’s oft in error, never in doubt Prince, which ends up buying him little more than paralysis by analysis.

    Better Arthur and Merlin, arts and sciences, Alexander and Aristotle than Melchizedek alone.

  126. @Craken
    You're wrong about quite a lot. Freud, to begin with: his work comes out of Shakespeare and Nietzsche primarily. He magically converted their gold to his silver and bronze and bile. Though he received first rate scientific training, he consciously chose to be one of the great 20th century Jewish anti-scientists (much like Boaz and Lewontin), who aggressively imposed what he called his "scientific" system on the world. At bottom, he is exactly what Bloom nails him as: a mythologist of human psychology.

    Where is the self-overhearing "dramatic device" of Shakespeare to be found in Sophocles, Seneca, or Marlowe? It was invented by Shakespeare because he needed it to achieve his representational vision--and the others did not. His innovation cannot be reduced to a device; it was invented to expand the possibilities of representing human consciousness on stage. This is one of the ways he enabled his principal characters to appear to be what Hegel called "free artists of themselves."

    The chapter on Dickinson is probably the best in his "Western Canon" book, and he certainly appreciates far more of the great George Eliot than her philo-Jewishness.

    As to Bloom's Jewish sympathies: my impression is that they only become obscene in his discussions of Freud. Even when they recognize he was a con man, some of the most brilliant Jews (like Wittgenstein) still love Freud for his deeply Jewish-centric view of the world.

    Bloom is a case in point of the dictum that everyone is conservative about subjects in which they are experts. He's a lifelong socialist who nevertheless defends spiritual hierarchy in his field.

    Well, I don’t intend to discuss this seriously- it isn’t that important. So, just a few remarks:
    you may have an impression that I claimed Bloom’s work was worthless (or of minor importance) because of his Jewish self-delusions & identity-myopia. This is not the case.

    Bloom is a major literary critic & a very erudite imaginative literature connoisseur; yet, he is- in my opinion- not equal to truly great literary theorists like Mikhail Bakhtin, Northrop Frye, Erich Auerbach, Ernst Curtius or Bruno Snell, who enlarged fields of our cognition & wisdom. He is more entertaining & perhaps more informed & erudite, but not nearly as “deep” or original as them. Be as it may- Bloom is a force for good, in most cases.

    As for Freud, you are mostly wrong. It is true that there was a streak of charlatanism in him, but this is such a field (an attempt to describe the entire human behavior & motivation) that anyone working on it must have possessed that trait. Freud’s theory is, ultimately, a powerful mythology (Wittgenstein), but Freud’s chief drive was not to deceive anyone, but to discover universals of human psychological life which would be- he thought- confirmed by later developments of empirical sciences. He literally considered himself to be the Darwin of the mind. There are tons of serious books on Freud (I gave links to some of them, some time before) & this is not the issue. The point is that Freud is not “Shakespeare prosified”, as Bloom claims. This is just a projection of one of Bloom’s obsessions: Shakespeare, Freud, Whitman, Gnosticism,…

    Then, Blooms’s claim (in WC) is that self-overhearing in Shakespeare fundamentally enlarged human self-consciousness. Bollocks. Writers who wrote in other genres & times (Plato, Montaigne, Richardson, Dostoevsky, ..) did not use that device & they achieved as much or more. For instance, George Steiner (a Jew, if you like), in his “The Poetry of Thought” persuasively claims that the greatest character in all of literature is Plato’s Socrates (no self-overhearing). Anyway, this is a matter of opinion & Bloom, following his Bardolatry, makes fool of himself with this statement (which he boringly repeats in his other books).

    I find the chapter on Dickinson (another Bloom’s fave) boring & one-dimensional (for instance, Bloom did not address certain infantilism of her work) & more- why is she there, anyway? Bloom did not include globally important supreme writers & writers-philosophers (Petrarch, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche,..) & yet, he gives us Dickinson & Eliot. From any rational perspective, the most influential 19th C poet is Baudelaire & the most influential 19th C novelist (not the greatest) is Flaubert; Dostoevsky is one of 5-10 supreme world writers & is not included in Bloom’s core canon.

    Sorry, this is very prejudiced.

    And, of course, eventually, it all comes down to……Jews. My impression is that you thought I was an anti-Semite (no, I am not). Also, my few objections to Bloom were not, centrally, about his Jewish identity or his Jewish sympathies, but about his weird Anglo-centrism in literature & crazy subjectivity which stuffed his core canon with too much writers who are not “globally important”, while he consciously omitted supremely influential or still important authors from Petrarch to Dostoevsky (here, Bloom’s Jewish ethnic super-sensitivity is on display, especially having in mind that the best & greatest Dostoevsky’s critics & biographers have been ethnic Jews like George Steiner or Joseph Frank).

    Freud’s world-view is not “Jewish-centric” & he is a great failed scientist & doubtless one of the greatest essayists, but by now, I’m tired of anything & everything Jewish….

    Anyway: a) Bloom is a force for good, b) his “School of Resentment” label is funny & great, c) his idiosyncrasies are many & I don’t see why I, or anyone else, would not mention them.

    • Replies: @Craken
    I agree with your assessment of Bloom's place among 20th century critics and his general cultural value. Curtius was the noblest critic of that century.

    Bloom explained his selection for the Western Canon: nationally representative writers, not necessarily the best writers. You may be right that Dostoyevsky was his one major misjudged omission (though the Russians would point to Pushkin instead). I count Dickinson America's best poet and by far the best female poet of any nation--not the most influential however.

    Yet...back to Freud: (1) a genius, who (2) trained with excellent physical scientists for his doctorate, who (3) claims his psychological speculations are "science." That he may have expected later empirical confirmation is beside the point, and something he never troubled himself to place much emphasis upon. He was a charlatan with a streak of ruthless thought-controlling cult leader. Notice his bad faith: for example, he never credits Nietzsche with anything. Having read most of N., I can assure you Freud makes free of N.'s various and abundant original thought, stealing the seeds for his garden. With his Shakespeare theft it was much the same, except he chose the lie of commission instead of the lie of omission. Thus the Freudian tedium: he warms over in his verbose German what has already been said better by better men. As to Bloom's Freud obsession: he ranks Freud among the 4 greatest writers of the century. It is his relationship with Freud that's really suspicious, not his occasionally drunken Shakespeare festivities.
  127. @blank-misgivings
    We don't think more though. Always interesting to go back and read old academic journal articles. The quality in the humanities and social sciences probably peaked in the 1950's and 1960's, when the disciplines had been professionalized but not yet thoroughly politicized.

    Not sure what disciplines to which you’re referring. The one’s I’m roughly acquainted with, I don’t see it that way, because they benefited from quantification. One of them actually is inundated with dreck, but it’s a minor discipline that has long needed to be put in receivership.

  128. He said the humanities and social sciences. The humanities are now gratuitously inhumane and many of the social sciences are plagued by physics envy. Scholars divide themselves up into the quality camp or the quantity camp (the putative white supremacists from a few posts back) where an approach that integrates the two would be much more effective.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Cultures

  129. @Steve Sailer
    self-overhearing “dramatic device” of Shakespeare

    What's an example of this from Hamlet?

    Hamlet’s struggle is to find his way out of his deep well of solipsism, his condition at the play’s beginning. There is a kind of perverse symmetry in how much Hamlet hears himself and how little he hears others. Commenter Desiderius is right: what isn’t an example of Hamlet talking to and carefully listening to himself? This is why Shakespeare gives Hamlet the lines telling actors how to act; his human interactions are almost all acting on his side.

    Bloom finds self-overhearing mainly in the monologues, and those are obviously the clearest instances. But the self-obsessed Prince also achieves his peculiar continuous self-education in “dialogue.” When he explains to Horatio how he rescued himself from the King’s order of execution, he says:

    Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
    That would not let me sleep. Methought I lay
    Worse than the mutineers in the bilboes. Rashly,
    and praised be rashness for it–let us know,
    Our indiscretion sometime serves us well,
    When our deep plots do pall; and that should learn us
    There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough-hew them how we will–

    He interrupts the flow of his narration to accommodate the lesson he draws–from himself. His escape was a turn toward action, yet when he begins his narrative here he conceives a post-hoc justification for action. He sustains this new perspective on action when he rejects Horatio’s plea to evade Laertes’ challenge to fence. He swings far the other way, now reckless, even doom eager to face the man he gravely offended before the King who seeks his death. What should have been his way into life–action–ironically becomes another escape.

  130. @Bardon Kaldian
    Well, I don't intend to discuss this seriously- it isn't that important. So, just a few remarks:
    you may have an impression that I claimed Bloom's work was worthless (or of minor importance) because of his Jewish self-delusions & identity-myopia. This is not the case.

    Bloom is a major literary critic & a very erudite imaginative literature connoisseur; yet, he is- in my opinion- not equal to truly great literary theorists like Mikhail Bakhtin, Northrop Frye, Erich Auerbach, Ernst Curtius or Bruno Snell, who enlarged fields of our cognition & wisdom. He is more entertaining & perhaps more informed & erudite, but not nearly as "deep" or original as them. Be as it may- Bloom is a force for good, in most cases.

    As for Freud, you are mostly wrong. It is true that there was a streak of charlatanism in him, but this is such a field (an attempt to describe the entire human behavior & motivation) that anyone working on it must have possessed that trait. Freud's theory is, ultimately, a powerful mythology (Wittgenstein), but Freud's chief drive was not to deceive anyone, but to discover universals of human psychological life which would be- he thought- confirmed by later developments of empirical sciences. He literally considered himself to be the Darwin of the mind. There are tons of serious books on Freud (I gave links to some of them, some time before) & this is not the issue. The point is that Freud is not "Shakespeare prosified", as Bloom claims. This is just a projection of one of Bloom's obsessions: Shakespeare, Freud, Whitman, Gnosticism,...

    Then, Blooms's claim (in WC) is that self-overhearing in Shakespeare fundamentally enlarged human self-consciousness. Bollocks. Writers who wrote in other genres & times (Plato, Montaigne, Richardson, Dostoevsky, ..) did not use that device & they achieved as much or more. For instance, George Steiner (a Jew, if you like), in his "The Poetry of Thought" persuasively claims that the greatest character in all of literature is Plato's Socrates (no self-overhearing). Anyway, this is a matter of opinion & Bloom, following his Bardolatry, makes fool of himself with this statement (which he boringly repeats in his other books).

    I find the chapter on Dickinson (another Bloom's fave) boring & one-dimensional (for instance, Bloom did not address certain infantilism of her work) & more- why is she there, anyway? Bloom did not include globally important supreme writers & writers-philosophers (Petrarch, Baudelaire, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche,..) & yet, he gives us Dickinson & Eliot. From any rational perspective, the most influential 19th C poet is Baudelaire & the most influential 19th C novelist (not the greatest) is Flaubert; Dostoevsky is one of 5-10 supreme world writers & is not included in Bloom's core canon.

    Sorry, this is very prejudiced.

    And, of course, eventually, it all comes down to......Jews. My impression is that you thought I was an anti-Semite (no, I am not). Also, my few objections to Bloom were not, centrally, about his Jewish identity or his Jewish sympathies, but about his weird Anglo-centrism in literature & crazy subjectivity which stuffed his core canon with too much writers who are not "globally important", while he consciously omitted supremely influential or still important authors from Petrarch to Dostoevsky (here, Bloom's Jewish ethnic super-sensitivity is on display, especially having in mind that the best & greatest Dostoevsky's critics & biographers have been ethnic Jews like George Steiner or Joseph Frank).

    Freud's world-view is not "Jewish-centric" & he is a great failed scientist & doubtless one of the greatest essayists, but by now, I'm tired of anything & everything Jewish....

    Anyway: a) Bloom is a force for good, b) his "School of Resentment" label is funny & great, c) his idiosyncrasies are many & I don't see why I, or anyone else, would not mention them.

    I agree with your assessment of Bloom’s place among 20th century critics and his general cultural value. Curtius was the noblest critic of that century.

    Bloom explained his selection for the Western Canon: nationally representative writers, not necessarily the best writers. You may be right that Dostoyevsky was his one major misjudged omission (though the Russians would point to Pushkin instead). I count Dickinson America’s best poet and by far the best female poet of any nation–not the most influential however.

    Yet…back to Freud: (1) a genius, who (2) trained with excellent physical scientists for his doctorate, who (3) claims his psychological speculations are “science.” That he may have expected later empirical confirmation is beside the point, and something he never troubled himself to place much emphasis upon. He was a charlatan with a streak of ruthless thought-controlling cult leader. Notice his bad faith: for example, he never credits Nietzsche with anything. Having read most of N., I can assure you Freud makes free of N.’s various and abundant original thought, stealing the seeds for his garden. With his Shakespeare theft it was much the same, except he chose the lie of commission instead of the lie of omission. Thus the Freudian tedium: he warms over in his verbose German what has already been said better by better men. As to Bloom’s Freud obsession: he ranks Freud among the 4 greatest writers of the century. It is his relationship with Freud that’s really suspicious, not his occasionally drunken Shakespeare festivities.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    Agree & disagree. Freud's debt to Schopenhauer is well known, while I doubt his map of mind owes anything to Nietzsche. However, the strongest influence on Freud were French hypnotherapists & psychologists like Charcot and Janet. Also, I disagree that he was primarily a charlatan, although, of course, there was much to suspect in his whole endeavor (as is the case with all personality theorists). Yet, he remains a great essayist, a readable literary figure- but not one of the most important 20th C authors, as Bloom would have us to believe.

    Freud has been immensely influential in literary circles, but then -why not include Nietzsche or Schopenhauer? From purely literary point, the greatest blunder was omission of Petrarch, who determined the course of European poetry for next 400-500 years.

    In my opinion, if this is the global Western Canon, then Petrarch, Baudelaire, Flaubert & Dostoevsky, plus perhaps Nietzsche (and certainly someone from the Antiquity, Homer and Plato) are unavoidable for the core canon; on the other hand, Wordsworth, Woolf, Eliot & Austen belong to Anglo-canon, because they simply are not nearly as universal & influential as others. Byron was hugely influential, but now remains something of an oddity. Also, Boccaccio is the archetypal European early prose storyteller; Chaucer remains a rather isolated Anglo-phenomenon.
  131. @Craken
    I agree with your assessment of Bloom's place among 20th century critics and his general cultural value. Curtius was the noblest critic of that century.

    Bloom explained his selection for the Western Canon: nationally representative writers, not necessarily the best writers. You may be right that Dostoyevsky was his one major misjudged omission (though the Russians would point to Pushkin instead). I count Dickinson America's best poet and by far the best female poet of any nation--not the most influential however.

    Yet...back to Freud: (1) a genius, who (2) trained with excellent physical scientists for his doctorate, who (3) claims his psychological speculations are "science." That he may have expected later empirical confirmation is beside the point, and something he never troubled himself to place much emphasis upon. He was a charlatan with a streak of ruthless thought-controlling cult leader. Notice his bad faith: for example, he never credits Nietzsche with anything. Having read most of N., I can assure you Freud makes free of N.'s various and abundant original thought, stealing the seeds for his garden. With his Shakespeare theft it was much the same, except he chose the lie of commission instead of the lie of omission. Thus the Freudian tedium: he warms over in his verbose German what has already been said better by better men. As to Bloom's Freud obsession: he ranks Freud among the 4 greatest writers of the century. It is his relationship with Freud that's really suspicious, not his occasionally drunken Shakespeare festivities.

    Agree & disagree. Freud’s debt to Schopenhauer is well known, while I doubt his map of mind owes anything to Nietzsche. However, the strongest influence on Freud were French hypnotherapists & psychologists like Charcot and Janet. Also, I disagree that he was primarily a charlatan, although, of course, there was much to suspect in his whole endeavor (as is the case with all personality theorists). Yet, he remains a great essayist, a readable literary figure- but not one of the most important 20th C authors, as Bloom would have us to believe.

    Freud has been immensely influential in literary circles, but then -why not include Nietzsche or Schopenhauer? From purely literary point, the greatest blunder was omission of Petrarch, who determined the course of European poetry for next 400-500 years.

    In my opinion, if this is the global Western Canon, then Petrarch, Baudelaire, Flaubert & Dostoevsky, plus perhaps Nietzsche (and certainly someone from the Antiquity, Homer and Plato) are unavoidable for the core canon; on the other hand, Wordsworth, Woolf, Eliot & Austen belong to Anglo-canon, because they simply are not nearly as universal & influential as others. Byron was hugely influential, but now remains something of an oddity. Also, Boccaccio is the archetypal European early prose storyteller; Chaucer remains a rather isolated Anglo-phenomenon.

    • Replies: @Craken
    Nietzsche acknowledges a major debt to Schopenhauer, but Freud owes more to Nietzsche. Freud told his biographer/acolyte Ernest Jones: "Nietzsche developed a more penetrating knowledge of himself than any other man who ever lived." Would a psychologist like Freud perhaps have some interest in such a thinker? In public, however, he claimed more than once that he (alone among German speaking intellectuals) had never read N. Nevertheless, both before and after he made these public claims, he quoted N. in several of his books. He also quoted N. in his private letters. Unlike N., who makes a point of expressing gratitude to his teachers and exemplars, Freud prefers to lie and dissemble.
    A short paper on this: "The Influence of Nietzsche on Freud's Ideas" by Chapman. Of course, if you've actually read both thinkers, you will find such "proof" superfluous. An instance of Bloom's "anxiety of influence" could scarcely be any more crude and obvious than with Freud's Nietzsche anxiety.
  132. @Bardon Kaldian
    Agree & disagree. Freud's debt to Schopenhauer is well known, while I doubt his map of mind owes anything to Nietzsche. However, the strongest influence on Freud were French hypnotherapists & psychologists like Charcot and Janet. Also, I disagree that he was primarily a charlatan, although, of course, there was much to suspect in his whole endeavor (as is the case with all personality theorists). Yet, he remains a great essayist, a readable literary figure- but not one of the most important 20th C authors, as Bloom would have us to believe.

    Freud has been immensely influential in literary circles, but then -why not include Nietzsche or Schopenhauer? From purely literary point, the greatest blunder was omission of Petrarch, who determined the course of European poetry for next 400-500 years.

    In my opinion, if this is the global Western Canon, then Petrarch, Baudelaire, Flaubert & Dostoevsky, plus perhaps Nietzsche (and certainly someone from the Antiquity, Homer and Plato) are unavoidable for the core canon; on the other hand, Wordsworth, Woolf, Eliot & Austen belong to Anglo-canon, because they simply are not nearly as universal & influential as others. Byron was hugely influential, but now remains something of an oddity. Also, Boccaccio is the archetypal European early prose storyteller; Chaucer remains a rather isolated Anglo-phenomenon.

    Nietzsche acknowledges a major debt to Schopenhauer, but Freud owes more to Nietzsche. Freud told his biographer/acolyte Ernest Jones: “Nietzsche developed a more penetrating knowledge of himself than any other man who ever lived.” Would a psychologist like Freud perhaps have some interest in such a thinker? In public, however, he claimed more than once that he (alone among German speaking intellectuals) had never read N. Nevertheless, both before and after he made these public claims, he quoted N. in several of his books. He also quoted N. in his private letters. Unlike N., who makes a point of expressing gratitude to his teachers and exemplars, Freud prefers to lie and dissemble.
    A short paper on this: “The Influence of Nietzsche on Freud’s Ideas” by Chapman. Of course, if you’ve actually read both thinkers, you will find such “proof” superfluous. An instance of Bloom’s “anxiety of influence” could scarcely be any more crude and obvious than with Freud’s Nietzsche anxiety.

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