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Harold Bloom quotes (showing 1-30 of 59)

“Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you.”
Harold Bloom
“We read deeply for varied reasons, most of them familiar: that we cannot know enough people profoundly enough; that we need to know ourselves better; that we require knowledge, not just of self and others, but of the way things are. Yet the strongest, most authentic motive for deep reading…is the search for a difficult pleasure.”
Harold Bloom
“Real reading is a lonely activity.”
Harold Bloom, The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
“We read to find ourselves, more fully and more strangely than otherwise we could hope to find.”
Harold Bloom
“I am not unique in my elegiac sadness at watching reading die, in the era that celebrates Stephen King and J.K. Rowling rather than Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll.”
Harold Bloom
“Everyone wants a prodigy to fail; it makes our mediocrity more bearable.”
Harold Bloom
“We read frequently if unknowingly, in quest of a mind more original than our own.”
Harold Bloom
“I am naive enough to read incessantly because I cannot, on my own, get to know enough people profoundly enough.”
Harold Bloom
“How to read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"? Why, very quickly, to begin with, and perhaps also to make an end. Why read it? Presumably, if you cannot be persuaded to read anything better, Rowling will have to do.”
Harold Bloom
“We all fear loneliness, madness, dying. Shakespeare and Walt Whitman, Leopardi and Hart Crane will not cure those fears. And yet these poets bring us fire and light.”
Harold Bloom, The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life
“We read, frequently if not unknowingly, in search of a mind more original than our own.”
Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why
“It is hard to go on living without some hope of encountering the extraordinary.”
Harold Bloom
“... one doesn't want to read badly any more than live badly, since time will not relent. I don't know that we owe God or nature a death, but nature will collect anyway, and we certainly owe mediocrity nothing, whatever collectivity it purports to advance or at least represent.”
Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why
“What matters in literature in the end is surely the idiosyncratic, the individual, the flavor or the color of a particular human suffering. ”
Harold Bloom
“Reading well is one of the greatest pleasures that solitude can afford you.”
Harold Bloom
“Reading the very best writers—let us say Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Tolstoy—is not going to make us better citizens. Art is perfectly useless, according to the sublime Oscar Wilde, who was right about everything. He also told us that all bad poetry is sincere. Had I the power to do so, I would command that these words be engraved above every gate at every university, so that each student might ponder the splendor of the insight.”
Harold Bloom, The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
“As an addict who will read anything, I obeyed, but I am not saved, and return to tell you neither what to read nor how to read it, only what I have read and think worthy of rereading, which may be the only pragmatic test for the canonical.”
Harold Bloom
“The art and passion of reading well and deeply is waning, but [Jane] Austen still inspires people to become fanatical readers. ”
Harold Bloom
“The creator of Sir John Falstaff, of Hamlet, and of Rosalind also makes me wish I could be more myself. But that, as I argue throughout this book, is why we should read, and why we should read only the best of what has been written.”
Harold Bloom, How to Read and Why
“Dark influences from the American past congregate among us still. If we are a democracy, what are we to make of the palpable elements of plutocracy, oligarchy, and mounting theocracy that rule our state? How do we address the self-inflicted catastrophes that devastated our natural environment? So large is our malaise that no single writer can encompass it. We have no Emerson or Whitman among us. An institutionalized counterculture condemns individuality as archaic and depreciates intellectual values, even in the universities. (The Anatomy of Influence)”
Harold Bloom
“Socrates, in Plato, formulates ideas of order: the Iliad, like Shakespeare, knows that a violent disorder is a great order.”
Harold Bloom, Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?
“We can be reluctant to recognize how much of our culture was literary, particularly now that so many of the institutional purveyors of literature happily have joined in proclaiming its death. A substantial number of Americans who believe they worship God actually worship three major literary characters: the Yahweh of the J Writer (earliest author of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers), the Jesus of the Gospel of Mark, and Allah of the Koran.”
Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
“Aesthetic value emanates from the struggle between texts: in the reader, in language, in the classroom, in arguments within a society. Aesthetic value rises out of memory, and so (as Nietzsche saw) out of pain, the pain of surrendering easier pleasures in favour of much more difficult ones ... successful literary works are achieved anxieties, not releases from anxieties.”
Harold Bloom, The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
“Aesthetic criticism returns us to the autonomy of imaginative literature and the sovereignty of the solitary soul, the reader not as a person in society but as the deep self, our ultimate inwardness.”
Harold Bloom, The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
“I think the Greek New Testament is the strongest and most successful misreading of a great prior text in the entire history of influence.”
Harold Bloom
“...the representation of human character and personality remains always the supreme literary value, whether in drama, lyric or narrative. I am naive enough to read incessantly because I cannot, on my own, get to know enough people profoundly enough.”
Harold Bloom, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
“(Wallace) Stevens turns to the idea of the weather precisely as the religious idea turns to the idea of God.”
Harold Bloom, Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate
“Marxism, famously a cry of pain rather than a science, has had its poets, but so has every other major religious heresy.”
Harold Bloom, The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
“Brecht was a cynical bohemian bogey of the middle classes, but also much more than a mere provocateur. He developed and dramatized his political knowledge in remarkable ways, and was an outspoken, radical opponent of the war, its nationalism and its capitalism”
Harold Bloom
“Until you become yourself," Bloom avers, "what benefit can you be to others.”
Harold Bloom

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