Harold Bloom surveys with majestic view the literature of the West from the Old Testament to Samuel Beckett. He provocatively rereads the Yahwist (or "J") writer, Jeremiah, Job, Jonah, the Illiad, the Aeneid, Dante's Divine Comedy, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, the Henry IV plays, Paradise Lost, Blake's Milton, Wordsworth's Prelude, and works by Freud, Kafka, and Beckett. In so doing, he uncovers the truth that all our attempts to call any strong work more sacred than another are merely political and social formulations. This is criticism at its best. This book is published by Harvard University Press.
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- Benjamin Myers
Not one of Bloom's best
At his best, Bloom is an insightful and entertaining critic. At his worst he is lazy, undisciplined, and derivative. This book unfortunately belongs to the second category. There are occasional flashes of insight but mostly it is a pastiche of cliches, scholarly gossip, and sweeping generalizations. Especially regrettable is the tendency to substitute name-dropping and interpretation-by-association for actual comment on the books in question. A pity to see Bloom's formidable powers squandered on a book like this.
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