In this text, Harold Bloom dares to define genius. He ranges across 2500 years, from the 5th century BC through to the year 2002, and touches on all the principal cultures both east and west The book is divided into three sections: youth, the middle years and the later years. This is because Bloom is concerned to show how the wisest of men and ...
In this text, Harold Bloom dares to define genius. He ranges across 2500 years, from the 5th century BC through to the year 2002, and touches on all the principal cultures both east and west The book is divided into three sections: youth, the middle years and the later years. This is because Bloom is concerned to show how the wisest of men and women throughout the ages can help us cope with the problems that beset us on our paths through life. Here are the patterns, dilemmas, fulfilments and renunciations we must all experience - how have characters from Achilles, through Hamlet on to Tolstoy's Natasha dealt with mourning, and what are the most psychologically useful reflections that major writers have made upon it? What can Dante teach us about our own love affairs?;Religious founders, mystics, writers, scientists, from Confucius, Jesus, Zoroaster to Isaak Babel, Sappho, Homer and Beckett - Harold Bloom extracts the wisdom from this panoply of human knowledge and also asks: what possibilties are there for fresh genius in an age of information overload?; This book is a passionate defence of genius against its past and current detractors, from socio-biologists to historicists and th
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-08-12 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. Bloom here follows up with 6-10 pages each on 100 "geniuses" of literature (all deceased) pointing to the major works, outlining the major achievements therein, showing us how to recognize them for ourselves. Despite the book's length, Bloom's mostly male geniuses are, as he notes "certainly not `the top one hundred' in anyone's judgement, my own included. I wanted to write about these." Bloom backs up his choices with such effortless and engaging erudition that their idiosyncrasy and casualness become strengths. While organized under the rubric of the 10 Kabalistic Sefirot, "attributes at once of God and of Adam Kadmon or Divine Man, God's Image," Bloom's chosen figures are associated by his own brilliant (and sometimes jabbingly provocative) forms of attention, from a linkage of Dr. Johnson, Goethe and Freud to one of Dickens, Celan and Ellison (with a few others in between them). A pleasant surprise is the plethora of lesser-known Latin American authors, from Luz Vaz de Camoes to Jos Maria Ea de Queiroz and Alejo Carpentier. Many familiar greats are here, too, as is a definition of genius. "This book is not a work of analysis or of close reading, but of surmise and juxtaposition," Bloom writes, and as such readers will find it appropriately enthusiastic and wild. (Oct. 22) Forecast: With the dismantling of Oprah's Book Club, and none of the contenders stepping up convincingly, look for this book to fill the void, particularly as a gift book. A five-city East Coast tour will add some awareness, and national reviews will build on it, but getting the voluble Bloom on morning television and letting him riff would be the clincher. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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