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Bloom’s Bible

Donald Davie

13 June 1991
The Book of J 
translated by David Rosenberg, interpreted by Harold Bloom.
Faber, 286 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 571 16111 1
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... to come by, for instance, in the AV version of the Book of Job: the last thing I need is to have the already barely manageable ambiguities of Holy Writ compounded, as they are by David Rosenberg and HaroldBloom. To be sure, this response will seem pusillanimous. When believers, Jewish or Christian, read or hear what they take to be Holy Writ, it’s supposed that they respond complacently. But some of ...
1 June 1989
Ruin the sacred truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present 
by Harold Bloom.
Harvard, 204 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 674 78027 2
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Harold BloomTowards Historical Rhetorics 
by Peter de Bolla.
Routledge, 155 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 415 00899 9
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... One way to think of HaroldBloom is as a professor and scholar of Romantic poetry who has Romantic aspirations of his own. He writes in the passionate style of Emerson and Shelley, and he has a penchant like Blake’s for system ...

Bloom’s Gnovel

Marilyn Butler

3 July 1980
The Flight to Lucifer: A Gnostic Fantasy 
by Harold Bloom.
Faber, 240 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 374 15644 1
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... HaroldBloom of Yale has become strangely hard to avoid. Eloquent, prolific, charismatic, he is unmistakably one of the leading living mandarins of literary criticism. His manner of writing has not endeared him ...
31 October 1996
Omens of the Millennium 
by Harold Bloom.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £15.99, October 1996, 1 85702 555 5
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... Towards the end of this rather bewildering book HaroldBloom explains that he doesn’t really expect the year 2000 to be catastrophic; we shall experience neither ‘rupture nor rapture’. The only danger he can see is that some people, maddened by the ...
22 December 1994
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages 
by Harold Bloom.
Harcourt Brace, 578 pp., £22, November 1994, 0 15 195747 9
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... As one thinks of HaroldBloom, Auden’s description of Wyndham Lewis as a lonely old volcano comes to mind. Though not, like Lewis, ‘of the Right’, or indeed claiming any political alignment, Bloom erupts with comparable regularity and force. He prefers to be a one-man cultural opposition, waving only the banner of aesthetics; he says there are no Bloomians, but everybody knows him and all ...

The Magic Bloomschtick

Colin Burrow: Harold Bloom

19 November 2019
The American Canon: Literary Genius from Emerson to Pynchon 
by Harold Bloom, edited by David Mikics.
Library of America, 426 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 1 59853 640 9
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... HaroldBloom, who died at the age of 89 just before the publication of The American Canon, made his name in 1973 with The Anxiety of Influence. It was a great title, which soon became a catchphrase. The book ...

Grandfather Emerson

Harold Bloom

7 April 1994
Poetry and Pragmatism 
by Richard Poirier.
Faber, 228 pp., £20, November 1992, 0 571 16617 2
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... Richard Poirier, now in his middle sixties, seems to me perhaps the most eminent of our living literary critics, at least in the United States. He has a central position in contemporary American letters, as the editor of Raritan, the best of our quarterly reviews, and as the presiding spirit of the Library of America, the definitive publisher of the classic texts of the national literature. His own ...

The Divine Miss P.

Elaine Showalter

11 February 1993
Sex, Art and American Culture 
by Camille Paglia.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, March 1993, 0 670 84612 0
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... Who is hotter than Mary McCarthy? Smarter than Susan Sontag? Funnier than HaroldBloom? Well, if you take her word for it, it’s Camille Paglia, come to set the world straight on the burning issues of our time: tenured radicals, date rape, the aesthetic evolution of Madonna. The self ...

Absent Authors

John Lanchester

15 October 1987
Criticism in Society 
by Imre Salusinszky.
Methuen, 244 pp., £15, May 1987, 0 416 92270 8
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Mensonge 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Deutsch, 104 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 233 98020 2
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... Derrida, Barbara Johnson, J. Hillis Miller) and one sympathiser (Geoffrey Hartman), two politically-minded oppositional critics (Edward Said, Frank Lentricchia) and two unclassifiable individualists (HaroldBloom, Frank Kermode). The ninth interviewee is the daddy of academic critics, the man with whom ‘we enter the critical modern age, the era of the total professionalisation of literary studies in ...
3 March 1988
The Renewal of Literature: Emersonian Reflections 
by Richard Poirier.
Faber, 256 pp., £14.95, March 1988, 0 571 15013 6
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... inclination’. A major aim of The Renewal of Literature is to establish what, or rather who, he has modified: among poets, Whitman, Frost and Stevens; among critics and theorists, John Hollander, HaroldBloom, Stanley Cavell, George Kateb, Richard Rorty and Sacvan Bercovitch. Strong claims are made for the validity of the Emersonian position – it represents ‘what literature is most often trying ...

Saved for Jazz

David Trotter

5 October 1995
Modernist Quartet 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Cambridge, 305 pp., £35, November 1994, 0 521 47004 8
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... Mia’, as it does to the Cantos. Of course, these are much-discussed writers, and it would be suicidally churlish to spurn new emphases. In a previous book about Stevens, Lentricchia upbraided HaroldBloom and Helen Vendler for ‘proceeding as if they had never read the poet’s letters and journals, or as if, having read them, they had come to the conclusion that the worldly life they found ...

The Only Way

Sam Kinchin-Smith: Culinary Mansplaining

4 January 2018
... means is that recipes nicked from an admirably diverse cast of victims are interspersed with discussions of some of history’s ‘higher cribbers’: Borges, Montaigne, Stevenson, Eliot, Mann and HaroldBloom; Michel Tournier and Alain Robbe-Grillet; pretend pretenders to the throne, Perkin Warbeck and Lambert Simnel; Napoleon’s chef Dunand; and ‘the genitally preoccupied Roman epigrammatist ...
7 October 1982
Figures of Literary Discourse 
by Gérard Genette, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Blackwell, 303 pp., £15, August 1982, 0 631 13089 6
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Theories of the Symbol 
by Tzvetan Todorov, translated by Catherine Porter.
Blackwell, 302 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 631 10511 5
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The Breaking of the Vessels 
by Harold Bloom.
Chicago, 107 pp., £7, April 1982, 0 226 06043 8
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The Institution of Criticism 
by Peter Hohendahl.
Cornell, 287 pp., £14.74, June 1982, 0 8014 1325 7
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Unspeakable Sentences: Narration and Representation in the Language of Fiction 
by Ann Banfield.
Routledge, 340 pp., £15.95, June 1982, 0 7100 0905 4
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... The first four books would normally be described as literary criticism, though they exhibit a considerable variety of interests, sociological, historical, theoretical; in HaroldBloom’s case ordinary language is defeated, for we need some such compound as cabbalistic-rhapsodic. None of them shows much interest in British writing, or the British literary scene, or in literary ...

Poisonous Frogs

Laura Quinney: Allusion v. Influence

8 May 2003
Allusion to the Poets 
by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 345 pp., £20, August 2002, 0 19 925032 4
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... are dutiful sons, who regard their distinguished elders ‘with unenvying generosity’, ‘with affectionate and independent respect’. His stubborn affirmation of gratitude is directed against HaroldBloom, an antagonist whose views Ricks means to parry with vigilance. He derides Bloom for ‘his sentimental discrediting of influence’, and calls the theory of the anxiety of influence a ...

Proverbs

William Ian Miller: Jon Elster

10 August 2000
Alchemies of the Mind: Rationality and the Emotions 
by Jon Elster.
Cambridge, 450 pp., £14.95, March 1999, 0 521 64487 9
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... Suppose that 16 years ago you had written not one but two superlative books. Would you suffer from anxiety of influence with regard to early versions of yourself, as if, to twist HaroldBloom, your early self now played an insurmountably glorious Milton to your later romantic phases? Did Shakespeare say to himself: ‘No way I can beat Hamlet, so why write again?’ Jon Elster wrote two ...

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