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With The Western Canon, Yale-based critical eminence Bloom tapped into a strain of the cultural zeitgeist looking for authoritative takes on what to read.
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It is a heavy book, and I find I must take it in small doses.

Every page tells me something new. I love that! I have admired Bloom for many years, and I occasionally even understand him! Jul 20, Jimmy rated it liked it Shelves: literary-criticism. In a book like this, there are usually writers that the reader is surprised to find on the list and writers that the reader feels should be on the list.

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The one writer that I feel was missing in particular was Yukio Mishima, the great Japanese writer. Bloom left out this part of the world as a whole. In many of Bloom's books, he complains about feminists, and this book is no exception.

I have to admit that I find that kind of funny to read. I sometimes get the impression that Bloom is showing of In a book like this, there are usually writers that the reader is surprised to find on the list and writers that the reader feels should be on the list. I sometimes get the impression that Bloom is showing off his great reading background.

That can get in the way of what he has to say. And what exactly does he have to say? Too often the chapters seemed to say nothing about the writer and would include too many quotes and references to other writers, especially Shakespeare. The biggest flaw for me was that Bloom often lost my interest. He is not a fun writer. But all in all, I liked reading about these different geniuses. View 2 comments. Sep 20, Chris rated it it was ok.

So, pretty much you've invented for 'Genius' a forbiddingly incomprehensible structure of lustres and names from the Kabbalistic Sefirot, all so your digressive ass can not stay on topic ever. Come on, boy! I sort of love Bloom, which is just to say that I'd like to think my irritations with him are different from other people's.

But while this book succeeds at its practical purpose of naming over a hundred people that Harold Bloom thinks are geniuses, a few of which you almost definitely Harold! But while this book succeeds at its practical purpose of naming over a hundred people that Harold Bloom thinks are geniuses, a few of which you almost definitely won't have heard of, so far it's failing me in its stated purpose of defining the particular genius of really any of them.

Genius made me think about how many books I have to read again and how many new books and authors I have to read for the first time. In an era where books are produced by the thousands Genius is a reference that helps to refocus on the essential on literature Dec 28, Francisco De Aldana rated it it was ok. Anglo-centric cultural narcissism unleashed.

Blooms idolatry of Shakespeare the most over-hyped literary figure of all times, the result of Brish and American imperialism is acritical; Shakespeare is not Cervantess equal, mush less -as Bloom is obsessed to "prove"- his "superior". Nov 17, RosaLei rated it it was amazing. It impressed me that Harold Bloom brought me up close and personal with great minds that I admire and also introduced me to many whom I heard of and some I never knew as well. I love the way he organized the book throughout the diversity and time periods of the talent by using his relation to Kabbalah; a very interesting method.

I frequently reference the book for inspiration and motivation with my own creative endeavors and am grateful that he took the time and effort to complete such a great w It impressed me that Harold Bloom brought me up close and personal with great minds that I admire and also introduced me to many whom I heard of and some I never knew as well. I frequently reference the book for inspiration and motivation with my own creative endeavors and am grateful that he took the time and effort to complete such a great work!

Jun 10, Steven Belanger rated it it was amazing. Absolutely enlightening and entertaining volume about of the greatest writers of the world, from one of the most, well, ingenious writers of the world. So good you want to start reading it again just after you've stopped. This book is second only to Bloom's Shakespeare: Invention of the Human, which I loved even more and which I've also read and re-read.

This one centers around the thesis of the aftereffects of genius upon the ingenious, and it's structured around a more-confusing-than-it-nee Absolutely enlightening and entertaining volume about of the greatest writers of the world, from one of the most, well, ingenious writers of the world. This one centers around the thesis of the aftereffects of genius upon the ingenious, and it's structured around a more-confusing-than-it-needs-to-be premise that Bloom has to explain to you, because though I get it, I can't explain it here, and I'm not sure it matters anyway.

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He just didn't want to list names and go at it, so he broke it down, loosely, upon the different types of genius each genius had. Fair enough, but then he goes all ancient Greek and Roman and almost Kabbalistic on you, which some of this book's geniuses--Austen, Chekhov and Cervantes, just to name a few--wouldn't have cared about at all. Separating them by their types of genius, yes. The extra stuff, whatever. All of this is moot because the insights and writing are really awe-inspiring. Bloom is like Stephen Hawking in that they make even those who think they're decently intelligent feel even more so for having read their works.

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One wonders what Bloom would make of this kakistocracy. His pitch against Dubya's conservative, religious right was high, damning and almost intellectually hysterical, so his stance against today's "system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens" would be close to suicidal. When Dubya seems like one of this book's geniuses by comparison, it's time to run for the hills. Or, the border. This might seem like we've gotten off track, but Bloom places these geniuses pretty well into the societies of their times.

It seems pretty clear that the genius and his society go hand-in-hand, one either causing the other, or at least bosom, if not friendly, buddies with the other. Bloom also focuses on one work of the author, but cleverly self-advertises when he says that he's written of Author X's novel Y elsewhere, so let's focus on Z here. You'll know Bloom's other bestselling titles before you're done with this one.

Of course it's right that he does this, or you'd read about Hamlet and Falstaff every single time you're reading Bloom on Shakespeare. This also works because he lets you know about some of these geniuses's lesser known works. If you're like me, you'll want to read most of the writing of most of these geniuses as you're reading this. Of the covered here, I think I gave a pass to maybe 5 to 8 of them. Not bad. And I really did want to sit down and read a lot of their stuff.

So this book is indispensable if you want to be an intelligent, read person. Read this, and his Invention of the Human, and when you're done reading both of them, you'll want to go back and do so again. Another sign of Bloom's genius and one yardstick he uses to gauge genius in others : Each time you read him, you'll get something else you hadn't noticed before.

Not because you're an idiot, but because there was so much there to begin with, you couldn't possibly have gotten it all the first time through. Jul 19, William Schram rated it really liked it Shelves: essays , non-fiction , poetry , literature , biography , criticism. Harold Bloom takes creative minds worthy of being called 'Genius' in his estimation and explains why he chose each person. Since the man is a literary critic he doesn't go into music or art criticism. Thus, you will not find Mozart or Delacroix being reviewed in these pages. Professor Bloom starts out by describing his strange way of organizing the authors.


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Bloom goes by the Kabbalah and organizes them by the Sefirot. So there are ten different Sefirot and each Sefirot contains ten authors. S Harold Bloom takes creative minds worthy of being called 'Genius' in his estimation and explains why he chose each person. Some of them I had not heard much of before. Others he chooses for reasons I did not expect.

For instance, take Victor Hugo, the great Poetic genius of France. I seriously had not heard that he was a poet, and had only heard of him from Les Miserables sic and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In any case, I suppose I really need to step up my reading game, but I am glad that I heard of the Lion's Share of these authors. Not that it matters much. Aug 22, John rated it really liked it. This is a large trade paperback that I have had for a number of years and periodically pull it off the shelf to read an essay from it.

Thematically, the genius standpoint applies, but these authors also represent Bloom's favorites in a half century of literary study and criticism. You will get what Bloom mostly writes about: what writers matter and why they matter. It's a book to visit if This is a large trade paperback that I have had for a number of years and periodically pull it off the shelf to read an essay from it. It's a book to visit if you're about to start reading a particular writer. Dec 06, SSShafiq rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction-misc. The conceit or explaining genius using the terms from the Kabbalah was difficult for me based on my background even though I enjoyed reading the book from a writing perspectives Based on this I gave the book a 3 star but acknowledge that could be higher based on some pre-reading.

I am not sure I followed the whole logic of tiers of genius but I did enjoy reading the book. Jul 30, Shira rated it it was ok Shelves: writing.

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While I am very glad that he introduced me to the category of Essayists, I found him to be both pedantic and condescending. In short, nearly unbearable. Yet I did find his organisation of the work by Kabbalistic sephirot to be intriguing.