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Eliot Weinberger: A poetry festival in Chengdu, 22 September 2005

... to say much at all. The writer most mentioned was Borges, and there were quite a few references to Harold Bloom, who had recently been translated into Chinese. Everyone was surprised that Forrest and I were rather tepid on the Western Canon; they assumed that this was the universal gospel, and couldn’t quite believe our assertions that it was more like ...

Yellow Ribbons

Hal Foster: Kitsch in Bush’s America, 7 July 2005

... to the point of implosion. ‘The flag and the foetus [are] our Cross and our Divine Child,’ Harold Bloom wrote under the first Bush: ‘Together [they] symbolise the American Religion.’ This is even more the case under the second Bush: if the foetus is sacrosanct, so is the flag soaked in the aura of the Cross. Especially since 9/11 this ...

Turtles All the Way Down

Walter Gratzer, 4 September 1997

The End of Science 
by John Horgan.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £18.99, May 1997, 0 316 64052 2
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... between the state of science and that of contemporary literature, when he draws on the views of Harold Bloom, who holds that the creative Wellsprings have been drained by the giants of the past. The scientist thus shares the plight of the poet, and ‘irony’ is the only escape. Among the ‘ironic’ scientists are numbered many of the best-known ...

The Devilish God

David Wheatley: T.S. Eliot, 1 November 2001

Words Alone: The Poet T.S. Eliot 
by Denis Donoghue.
Yale, 326 pp., £17.95, January 2001, 0 300 08329 7
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Adam’s Curse: Reflections on Religion and Literature 
by Denis Donoghue.
Notre Dame, 178 pp., £21.50, May 2001, 0 268 02009 4
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... of Poundians at least. Critics unimpressed by the psychodrama of Eliot’s Christianity, such as Harold Bloom and Helen Vendler, much prefer Yeats and Stevens. And as a glance at any anthology of 20th-century British poetry will show, the prewar voices most audible today belong to Auden and MacNeice. From the maudlin Tom and Viv to Peter Ackroyd’s ...

Crenellated Heat

Philip Connors: Cormac McCarthy, 25 January 2007

The Road 
by Cormac McCarthy.
Picador, 241 pp., £16.99, November 2006, 9780330447539
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... and murderer of children, a figure of such demonic presence that he can only be compared, as Harold Bloom said, to the great Shakespearean villains. ‘It makes no difference what men think of war,’ the Judge declares. ‘War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate ...


Elizabeth Prettejohn: Walter Pater, 6 February 2020

The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. III: Imaginary Portraits 
edited by Lene Østermark-Johansen.
Oxford, 359 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 882343 8
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The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. IV: Gaston de Latour 
edited by Gerald Monsman.
Oxford, 399 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 881616 4
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Walter Pater: Selected Essays 
edited by Alex Wong.
Carcanet, 445 pp., £18.99, September 2018, 978 1 78410 626 3
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... repugnant to Eliot, came to fascinate the postmodernist generation, and led to important essays by Harold Bloom and J. Hillis Miller. Wolfgang Iser’s study of Pater was crucial to the genesis of reception theory at the University of Konstanz in the 1960s.Pater reportedly told his students that ‘the great thing is to read authors whole; read Plato ...

Amor vincit Vinnie

Marilyn Butler, 21 February 1985

Foreign Affairs 
by Alison Lurie.
Joseph, 291 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 7181 2516 9
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... some used to think, imitation merely operated as a sincere form of flattery. The American critic Harold Bloom annoyed many traditionalists in the Seventies by his psychoanalytic theory of literary influence, which proffers an aggressive account of how the new writer views his precursors: Bloom’s characteristically ...

Committee Speak

Robert Alter: Bible Writers, 19 July 2007

Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible 
by Karel van der Toorn.
Harvard, 401 pp., £22.95, March 2007, 978 0 674 02437 3
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... can be no individual author. Karel van der Toorn is the perfect – and bracing – antithesis to Harold Bloom. Bloom, whose point of departure as a critic is English Romantic poetry and in particular Blake’s relationship to Milton, has based much of his career on the conception of the writer as a bold individual ...


Graham Coster, 10 January 1991

Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... become themselves ... out of failure comes a brand-new style.’ Thus, and incontrovertibly, not Harold Bloom, but Harold Pendleton, founder of London’s famous Marquee Club, where the Stones first met and Hendrix broke the house record. Pendleton’s Map of Musical Misreading, set out for the benefit of ...

The Soul of Man under Psychoanalysis

Adam Phillips: ‘The Soul of Man under Psychoanalysis’, 29 November 2001

... them. What is in question is finding the suitable, the sufficient language for this conflict. When Harold Bloom writes with his useful (and usual) fervour about Eliot that ‘to have been born in 1888, and to have died in 1965, is to have flourished in the Age of Freud, hardly a time when Anglo-Catholic theology, social thought and morality were central ...

Shaggy Fellows

David Norbrook, 9 July 1987

A History of Modern Poetry: Modernism and After 
by David Perkins.
Harvard, 694 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 674 39946 3
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Collected Poems 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 207 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 14 008383 9
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The Poetry of Geoffrey Hill 
by Henry Hart.
Southern Illinois, 305 pp., $24.95, January 1986, 0 8093 1236 0
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... out some significant themes. In his introduction to the American collection of Hill’s poetry, Harold Bloom acclaimed him as the ‘strongest British poet now alive’. Hill’s work, he said, ‘testifies to the repressive power of tradition’, but also forms an ‘immensely moving protest against tradition’. An inveterate foe of Eliot and ...

Anger and Dismay

Denis Donoghue, 19 July 1984

Literary Education: A Revaluation 
by James Gribble.
Cambridge, 182 pp., £16.50, November 1983, 0 521 25315 2
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Reconstructing Literature 
edited by Laurence Lerner.
Blackwell, 218 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 631 13323 2
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Counter-Modernism in Current Critical Theory 
by Geoffrey Thurley.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 33436 1
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... has the force to understand force from within itself.’ Blurring differences, Gribble treats Harold Bloom as an adept of Deconstruction, for no reason except that Bloom took part, a few years ago, in a bizarre exercise published as Deconstruction and Criticism. Structuralism, Deconstruction and ...

A Snake, a Flame

T.J. Clark: Blake at the Ashmolean, 5 February 2015

William Blake: Apprentice and Master 
Ashmolean Museum, until 1 March 2015Show More
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... comes back to life – of his technique. But ‘I hope’ is a token of some viewers’ doubts. Harold Bloom, at the beginning of his Blake’s Apocalypse (still a marvellous guide), has this disarming aside: I have slighted Blake’s illustrations to his engraved poems, though to do so is to go against Blake’s intentions … Blake’s ...

No Magic, No Metaphor

Fredric Jameson: ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’, 15 June 2017

... so many José Arcadios, even with some Remedios and Amarantas thrown in on the distaff side. Harold Bloom is right to complain of ‘a kind of aesthetic battle fatigue, since every page is crammed full of life beyond the capacity of any single reader to absorb’. I would add to this an embarrassment the literary commentator is loath to ...
Structuralism and Since: From Lévi-Strauss to Derrida 
edited by John Sturrock.
Oxford, 190 pp., £5.50, January 1980, 0 19 215839 2
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... though each enjoys his own style of disclosing again and again the ‘abysm’ of words. But Bloom and Hartman are barely deconstructionists. They even write against it on occasion. The reason why they do, is that they wish to preserve what is called ‘pathos’, in Yale parlance, from the total victory of ‘Nietzschean aesthetic play’. And ...

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