Gustav Klimt's Reviews > The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages

The Western Canon by Harold Bloom
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Dec 26, 08

Read in January, 2002

Bloom attacks the usual Conservative straw-men of "identity politics" and "ideological criticism," clearly without having taken the time to understand the current state of literary studies. The guy has a photographic memory, which makes him a a great storage house of cross references, but his critical apparatus is primitive to say the least.

I have no problem with acknowledging a canon, but it is hardly a fixed and monolithic structure. Bloom's efforts to tell us what we should be reading amount to the rantings of a man who has been left behind.
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Typewriter The best people in life get left behind.


message 2: by Jason (new) - added it

Jason But if the canon, such as it is or might be, is not at least periodically fixed (not to mention approached with the kind of reverence that greatness should, after all, inspire), don't we run the risk of seeing relativism dilute our individual definitions of "greatness" (not to mention our individual notions of what "canonical" should, or should not, entail)? I see contemporary literary studies running the risk of descending into a morass of "I, I, I, I, I..." that encourages, if not insists upon, the notion of a canon being dissolved because of our inabilities to agree.


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