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

The Western Canon by Harold Bloom
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Feb 23, 09

bookshelves: criticisms, in-bookshelf
Read in February, 2009

To some Harold Bloom might just be a pompous critic, but if I can have an ounce of literary knowledge that this man has in his brain, I would consider myself lucky. I admire Harold Bloom, which makes me a bit bias when reading any of his criticisms. Unfortunately, I cannot help to admire a man that has an extensive knowledge of literature. Literature is my passion and it his unending passion to read and to celebrate the art and styles of literature, which I cannot overlook.

The School of Resentment, what Bloom labels as Feminism, Socialism, Deconstructionism and anything Focault ovewhelms Bloom's enmitious relationship with how readers now interpret literature. I read Bloom because I agree with him, we no longer appreciate and take stock in the aesthetics of literature. Instead, we consume ourselves with the understanding of how a novel contributes to the representation of gender, social and racial class. I do not see literature in this manner, because any work that presents itself this way never transcends into an elevated study of the overall human understanding. Works that fit into that mold at best is a simulacrum.

Noteworthy pieces of criticism is how Bloom describes Ibsen's Trollishness and Hedda Gabler as a female mirror to Shakespeare's Iago. Lastly, this quote left quite a lasting impression to end my journey into the Western Canon:

Traditions tell us that the free and solitary self writes in order to overcome mortality. I think that the self, in its quest to be free and solitary, ultimately reads with one aim only; to confront greatness.

I thoroughly believe in the canon and it is an overwheling greatness that one can never surmise how to describe it.
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