Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Deresiewicz on Harold Bloom

In this review, William Deresiewicz characterizes his former colleague, literature scholar Harold Bloom, as the "Mr Kurtz" of the Yale University English Department. Apparently, the two never met during the ten years they were colleagues. Bloom, Deresewicz writes, "has conspired, with ample help from the media, to make his personality more significant than anything he does, and ... everything he does now serves to keep that personality afloat before the public. Bloom is the story, and more and more, Bloom’s story is the story." And there's this:
Bloom must surely be the most solipsistic critic on record. Harold is, indeed, a world unto himself.
    And as he piles up book on book, it’s only getting worse.
And this: "Bloom, it seems, talks only to himself..."  And also this: "Harold fills up everything with Harold..." And the final twist of the critical scalpel:
Harold Bloom is fond of inveighing against the vulgarity of American culture, but by setting himself up as a kind of literary shaman, he has done his part to vulgarize it.

Here's Bloom, interviewed last spring:

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