Harold Bloom

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Harold Bloom
Born (1930-07-11) July 11, 1930 (age 88)
The Bronx, New York
Occupation Literary critic, writer, professor
Education Cornell University (B.A.)
Yale University (PhD)
Pembroke College, Cambridge
Literary movement Aestheticism, Romanticism
SpouseJeanne Gould (m. 1958; 2 children)

Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930) is an American literary critic and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. [1] Since the publication of his first book in 1959, Bloom has written more than forty books, [2] including twenty books of literary criticism, several books discussing religion, and a novel. He has edited hundreds of anthologies concerning numerous literary and philosophical figures for the Chelsea House publishing firm. [3] [4] Bloom's books have been translated into more than 40 languages.

Sterling Professor is the highest academic rank at Yale University, awarded to a tenured faculty member considered one of the best in his or her field. It is akin to the rank of university professor at other universities.

Humanities academic disciplines that study human culture

Humanities are academic disciplines that study aspects of human society and culture. In the Renaissance, the term contrasted with divinity and referred to what is now called classics, the main area of secular study in universities at the time. Today, the humanities are more frequently contrasted with natural, and sometimes social, sciences as well as professional training.

Yale University private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.


Bloom came to public attention in the United States as a commentator during the literary canon wars of the early 1990s. [5] He was educated at Yale University, the University of Cambridge, and Cornell University.

University of Cambridge University in Cambridge, United Kingdom

The University of Cambridge is a collegiate public research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a Royal Charter by King Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving university. The university grew out of an association of scholars who left the University of Oxford after a dispute with the townspeople. The two 'ancient universities' share many common features and are often referred to jointly as 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Cambridge has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Cornell University Private Ivy League research university in Upstate New York

Cornell University is a private and statutory Ivy League research university in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's founding principle, a popular 1868 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

Early life

Bloom was born in New York City, the son of Paula (Lev) and William Bloom. He lived in the Bronx at 1410 Grand Concourse. [6] [7] He was raised as an Orthodox Jew in a Yiddish-speaking household, where he learned literary Hebrew; [8] he learned English at the age of six. [9] Bloom's father, a garment worker, was born in Odessa and his mother, a homemaker, near Brest Litovsk in what is today Belarus. [8] Harold had three older sisters and an older brother of whom he is the sole survivor. [8]

Grand Concourse (Bronx) boulevard in the Bronx, NY

The Grand Concourse is a major thoroughfare in the borough of the Bronx in New York City. It was designed by Louis Aloys Risse, an immigrant from Saint-Avold, Lorraine, France, who had previously worked for the New York Central Railroad and was later appointed chief topographical engineer for the New York City government.

Yiddish is the historical language of the Ashkenazi Jews. It originated during the 9th century in Central Europe, providing the nascent Ashkenazi community with a High German-based vernacular fused with elements taken from Hebrew and Aramaic as well as from Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages. Yiddish is written with a fully vocalized version of the Hebrew alphabet.

Odessa Place in Odessa Oblast, Ukraine

Odessa is the third most populous city of Ukraine and a major tourism center, seaport and transport hub located on the northwestern shore of the Black Sea. It is also the administrative center of the Odessa Oblast and a multiethnic cultural center. Odessa is sometimes called the "pearl of the Black Sea", the "South Capital", and "Southern Palmyra". Before the Tsarist establishment of Odessa, an ancient Greek settlement existed at its location as elsewhere along the northwestern Black Sea coast. A more recent Tatar settlement was also founded at the location by Hacı I Giray, the Khan of Crimea in 1440 that was named after him as "Hacıbey". After a period of Lithuanian Grand Duchy control, Hacibey and surroundings became part of the domain of the Ottomans in 1529 and remained there until the empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1792.

As a boy, Bloom read Hart Crane's Collected Poems, a collection that inspired his lifelong fascination with poetry. [10] Bloom went to the Bronx High School of Science (where his grades were poor but his standardized-test scores were high), [11] and subsequently received a B.A. in Classics from Cornell in 1951, where he was a student of English literary critic M. H. Abrams, and a PhD from Yale in 1955. [12] In 1954-55 Bloom was a Fulbright Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge. [13]

Hart Crane American writer

Harold Hart Crane was an American poet. Finding both inspiration and provocation in the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Crane wrote modernist poetry that was difficult, highly stylized, and ambitious in its scope. In his most ambitious work, The Bridge, Crane sought to write an epic poem, in the vein of The Waste Land, that expressed a more optimistic view of modern, urban culture than the one that he found in Eliot's work. In the years following his suicide at the age of 32, Crane has been hailed by playwrights, poets, and literary critics alike, as being one of the most influential poets of his generation.

Bronx High School of Science Specialized high school in New York City

The Bronx High School of Science is a public magnet, specialized high school in Bronx, New York, United States. It is operated by the New York City Department of Education.

Classics Study of the culture of (mainly) Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome

Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity. It encompasses the study of the Greco-Roman world, particularly of its languages and literature but also of Greco-Roman philosophy, history, and archaeology. Traditionally in the West, the study of the Greek and Roman classics is considered one of the cornerstones of the humanities and a fundamental element of a rounded education. The study of classics has therefore traditionally been a cornerstone of a typical elite education.

Bloom was a standout student at Yale, where he clashed with the faculty of New Critics including William K. Wimsatt. Several years later, Bloom dedicated his first major book, The Anxiety of Influence , to Wimsatt. [14]

William Kurtz Wimsatt Jr. was an American professor of English, literary theorist, and critic. Wimsatt is often associated with the concept of the intentional fallacy, which he developed with Monroe Beardsley in order to discuss the importance of an author's intentions for the creation of a work of art.

<i>The Anxiety of Influence</i> book

The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry is a 1973 book by Harold Bloom. It was the first in a series of books that advanced a new "revisionary" or antithetical approach to literary criticism. Bloom's central thesis is that poets are hindered in their creative process by the ambiguous relationship they necessarily maintained with precursor poets. While admitting the influence of extraliterary experience on every poet, he argues that "the poet in a poet" is inspired to write by reading another poet's poetry and will tend to produce work that is in danger of being derivative of existing poetry, and, therefore, weak. Because poets historically emphasize an original poetic vision in order to guarantee their survival into posterity, the influence of precursor poets inspires a sense of anxiety in living poets. Thus Bloom attempts to work out the process by which the small minority of 'strong' poets manage to create original work in spite of the pressure of influence. Such an agon, Bloom argues, depends on six revisionary ratios, which reflect Freudian and quasi-Freudian defense mechanisms, as well as the tropes of classical rhetoric.

Teaching career

Bloom has been a member of the Yale English Department since 1955. He received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1985. From 1988 to 2004, Bloom was Berg Professor of English at New York University while maintaining his position at Yale. In 2010, he became a founding patron of Ralston College, a new institution in Savannah, Georgia, that focuses on primary texts. [15] [16]

New York University private research university in New York, NY, United States

New York University (NYU) is a private research university originally founded in New York City but now with campuses and locations throughout the world. Founded in 1831, NYU's historical campus is in Greenwich Village, New York City. As a global university, students can graduate from its degree-granting campuses in NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai, as well as study at its 12 academic centers in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C.

Savannah, Georgia City in Georgia, United States

Savannah is the oldest city in the U.S. state of Georgia and is the county seat of Chatham County. Established in 1733 on the Savannah River, the city of Savannah became the British colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. A strategic port city in the American Revolution and during the American Civil War, Savannah is today an industrial center and an important Atlantic seaport. It is Georgia's fifth-largest city, with a 2018 estimated population of 145,862. The Savannah metropolitan area, Georgia's third-largest, had an estimated population of 389,494 in 2018.

Personal life

Bloom married Jeanne Gould in 1958. [17] In a 2005 interview his wife said that she regarded him and herself as both atheists while he denied being an atheist saying "No, no I'm not an atheist. It's no fun being an atheist." [18]

Writing career

Defense of Romanticism

Bloom began his career with a sequence of highly regarded monographs on Percy Bysshe Shelley (Shelley's Myth-making, Yale University Press, originally Bloom's doctoral dissertation), W. B. Yeats, (Yeats, Oxford University Press), and Wallace Stevens, (Wallace Stevens: The Poems of Our Climate, Cornell University Press). In these, he defended the High Romantics against neo-Christian critics influenced by such writers as T. S. Eliot, who became a recurring intellectual foil. Bloom had a contentious approach: his first book, Shelley's Myth-making, charged many contemporary critics with sheer carelessness in their reading of the poet.

Influence theory

After a personal crisis in the late sixties, Bloom became deeply interested in Emerson, Sigmund Freud, and the ancient mystic traditions of Gnosticism, Kabbalah, and Hermeticism. In a 2003 interview with Bloom, Michael Pakenham, the book editor for The Baltimore Sun , writes that Bloom has long referred to himself as a "Jewish Gnostic". Bloom explains: "I am using Gnostic in a very broad way. I am nothing if not Jewish... I really am a product of Yiddish culture. But I can't understand a Yahweh, or a God, who could be all-powerful and all knowing and would allow the Nazi death camps and schizophrenia." [19] Influenced by his reading, he began a series of books that focused on the way in which poets struggled to create their own individual poetic visions without being overcome by the influence of the previous poets who inspired them to write.

The first of these books, Yeats, a magisterial examination of the poet, challenged the conventional critical view of his poetic career. In the introduction to this volume, Bloom set out the basic principles of his new approach to criticism: "Poetic influence, as I conceive it, is a variety of melancholy or the anxiety-principle." A new poet becomes inspired to write because he has read and admired the poetry of previous poets; but this admiration turns into resentment when the new poet discovers that these poets whom he idolized have already said everything he wishes to say. The poet becomes disappointed because he "cannot be Adam early in the morning. There have been too many Adams, and they have named everything."

The agon, strong and weak misreadings

In order to evade this psychological obstacle, the new poet must convince himself that previous poets have gone wrong somewhere and failed in their vision, thus leaving open the possibility that he may have something to add to the tradition after all. The new poet's love for his heroes turns into antagonism towards them: "Initial love for the precursor's poetry is transformed rapidly enough into revisionary strife, without which individuation is not possible." [20] The book that followed Yeats, The Anxiety of Influence , which Bloom had started writing in 1967, drew upon the example of Walter Jackson Bate's The Burden of the Past and The English Poet and recast in systematic psychoanalytic form Bate's historicized account of the despair felt by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century poets about their ability to match the achievements of their predecessors. Bloom attempted to trace the psychological process by which a poet broke free from his precursors to achieve his own poetic vision. He drew a sharp distinction between "strong poets" who perform "strong misreadings" of their precursors, and "weak poets" who simply repeat the ideas of their precursors as though following a kind of doctrine. He described this process in terms of a sequence of "revisionary ratios," through which each strong poet passes in the course of his career.

Addenda and developments of his theory

A Map of Misreading picked up where The Anxiety of Influence left off, making several adjustments to Bloom's system of revisionary ratios. Kabbalah and Criticism attempted to invoke the esoteric interpretive system of the Lurianic Kabbalah, as explicated by scholar Gershom Scholem, as an alternate system of mapping the path of poetic influence. Figures of Capable Imagination collected odd pieces Bloom had written in the process of composing his 'influence' books.

Bloom continued to write about influence theory throughout the seventies and eighties, and he has written little since that does not invoke his ideas about influence.

Novel experiment

Bloom's fascination with the fantasy novel A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay led him to take a brief break from criticism in order to compose a sequel to Lindsay's novel. This novel, The Flight to Lucifer , remains Bloom's only work of fiction. [21]

Religious criticism

Bloom then entered a phase of what he called "religious criticism", beginning in 1989 with Ruin the Sacred Truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present.

In The Book of J (1990), he and David Rosenberg (who translated the Biblical texts) portrayed one of the posited ancient documents that formed the basis of the first five books of the Bible (see documentary hypothesis) as the work of a great literary artist who had no intention of composing a dogmatically religious work (see Jahwist). They further envisaged this anonymous writer as a woman attached to the court of the successors of the Israelite kings David and Solomon—a piece of speculation which drew much attention. Later, Bloom said that the speculations didn't go far enough, and perhaps he should have identified J with the Biblical Bathsheba. [22] In Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine (2004), he revisits some of the territory he covered in The Book of J in discussing the significance of Yahweh and Jesus of Nazareth as literary characters, while casting a critical eye on historical approaches and asserting the fundamental incompatibility of Christianity and Judaism.

In The American Religion (1992), Bloom surveyed the major varieties of Protestant and post-Protestant religious faiths that originated in the United States and argued that, in terms of their psychological hold on their adherents, most shared more in common with gnosticism than with historical Christianity. The exception was the Jehovah's Witnesses, whom Bloom regards as non-Gnostic. He elsewhere predicted that the Mormon and Pentecostal strains of American Christianity would overtake mainstream Protestant divisions in popularity in the next few decades. In Omens of Millennium (1996), Bloom identifies these American religious elements as on the periphery of an old – and not inherently Christian – gnostic, religious tradition which invokes a complex of ideas and experiences concerning angelology, interpretation of dreams as prophecy, near-death experiences, and millennialism. [23]

In his essay in The Gospel of Thomas, Bloom states that none of Thomas' Aramaic sayings have survived to this day in the original language. [24] Marvin Meyer generally agreed and further confirmed that the earlier versions of that text were likely written in either Aramaic or Greek. [25] Meyer ends his introduction with an endorsement of much of Bloom's essay. [26] Bloom notes the other-worldliness of the Jesus in the Thomas sayings by making reference to "the paradox also of the American Jesus." [27]

The Western Canon

In 1994, Bloom published The Western Canon , a survey of the major literary works of Europe and the Americas since the 14th century, focusing on 26 works he considered sublime and representative of their nations [28] and of the Western canon. [29] Besides analyses of the canon's various representative works, the major concern of the volume is reclaiming literature from those he refers to as the "School of Resentment", the mostly academic critics who espouse a social purpose in reading. Bloom believes that the goals of reading must be solitary aesthetic pleasure and self-insight rather than the goal held by "forces of resentment" of improving one's society, which he casts as an absurd aim, writing: "The idea that you benefit the insulted and injured by reading someone of their own origins rather than reading Shakespeare is one of the oddest illusions ever promoted by or in our schools." His position is that politics have no place in literary criticism: a feminist or Marxist reading of Hamlet would tell us something about feminism and Marxism, he says, but probably nothing about Hamlet itself.

In addition to considering how much influence a writer has had on later writers, Bloom proposed the concept of "canonical strangeness" (cf. uncanny) as a benchmark of a literary work's merit. The Western Canon also included a list—which aroused more widespread interest than anything else in the volume—of all the Western works from antiquity to the present that Bloom considered either permanent members of the canon of literary classics, or (among more recent works) candidates for that status. Bloom has said that he made the list off the top of his head at his editor's request, and that he does not stand by it. [30]

Work on Shakespeare

Bloom has a deep appreciation for Shakespeare [31] and considers him to be the supreme center of the Western canon. [32] The first edition of The Anxiety of Influence almost completely avoided Shakespeare, whom Bloom considered, at the time, barely touched by the psychological drama of anxiety. The second edition, published in 1997, adds a long preface that mostly expounds on Shakespeare's debt to Ovid and Chaucer, and his agon with his contemporary Christopher Marlowe, who set the stage for him by breaking free of ecclesiastical and moralizing overtones.

In his 1998 survey, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Bloom provides an analysis of each of Shakespeare's 38 plays, "twenty-four of which are masterpieces." Written as a companion to the general reader and theatergoer, Bloom declares that bardolatry "ought to be even more a secular religion than it already is." [33] He also contends in the work (as in the title) that Shakespeare "invented" humanity, in that he prescribed the now-common practice of "overhearing" ourselves, which drives our changes. The two paragons of his theory are Sir John Falstaff of Henry IV and Hamlet, whom Bloom sees as representing self-satisfaction and self-loathing, respectively. Throughout Shakespeare, characters from disparate plays are imagined alongside and interacting with each other; this has been decried by numerous contemporary academics and critics as hearkening back to the out of fashion character criticism of A. C. Bradley and others, who happen to gather explicit praise in the book. As in The Western Canon, Bloom criticizes what he calls the "School of Resentment" for its failure to live up to the challenge of Shakespeare's universality and instead balkanizing the study of literature through various multicultural and historicist departments. Asserting Shakespeare's singular popularity throughout the world, Bloom proclaims him as the only multicultural author, and rather than the "social energies" historicists ascribe Shakespeare's authorship to, Bloom pronounces his modern academic foes – and indeed, all of society – to be "a parody of Shakespearian energies."


Bloom consolidated his work on the western canon with the publication of How to Read and Why in 2000 and Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds in 2003. In the same year, Hamlet: Poem Unlimited was published, an amendment to Shakespeare: Invention of the Human written after he decided the chapter on Hamlet in that earlier book had been too focused on the textual question of the Ur-Hamlet to cover his most central thoughts on the play itself. Some elements of religious criticism were combined with his secular criticism in Where Shall Wisdom Be Found (2004), and a more complete return to religious criticism was marked by the publication of Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine in 2005. Throughout the decade he also compiled, edited and introduced several major anthologies of poetry.

In 2006, Bloom took part in the documentary, the Apparition of the Eternal Church, made by Paul Festa. This documentary centered on many individuals' reactions to hearing, for the first time, the renowned piece for organ, the Apparition de l'église éternelle , of Olivier Messiaen.

Bloom began a book under the working title of Living Labyrinth, centering on Shakespeare and Whitman, which was published in 2011 as The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life.

In July 2011, after the publication of The Anatomy of Influence and after finishing work on The Shadow of a Great Rock, Bloom was working on three further projects:


In 1986, Bloom credited Northrop Frye as his nearest precursor. He told Imre Salusinszky in 1986: "In terms of my own theorizations ... the precursor proper has to be Northrop Frye. I purchased and read Fearful Symmetry a week or two after it had come out and reached the bookstore in Ithaca, New York. It ravished my heart away. I have tried to find an alternative father in Mr. Kenneth Burke, who is a charming fellow and a very powerful critic, but I don't come from Burke, I come out of Frye." [36]

However, in his 2011 Anatomy of Influence, he wrote "I no longer have the patience to read anything by Frye" and nominated Angus Fletcher among his living contemporaries as his "critical guide and conscience" and elsewhere that year recommended Fletcher's Colors of the Mind and The Mirror and the Lamp by M. H. Abrams. In this latter phase of his career, Bloom has also emphasized the tradition of earlier critics such as William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walter Pater, A. C. Bradley, and Samuel Johnson, describing Johnson in The Western Canon as "unmatched by any critic in any nation before or after him". In his 2012 Foreword to the book The Fourth Dimension of a Poem (WW Norton, 2012), Bloom indicated the influence which M. H. Abrams had upon him in his years at Cornell University. [37]

Bloom's theory of poetic influence regards the development of Western literature as a process of borrowing and misreading. Writers find their creative inspiration in previous writers and begin by imitating those writers in order to develop a poetic voice of their own; however, they must make their own work different from that of their precursors. As a result, Bloom argues, authors of real power must inevitably "misread" their precursors' works in order to make room for fresh imaginings. [38] [39]

Observers often identified Bloom with deconstruction in the past, but he himself never admitted to sharing more than a few ideas with the deconstructionists. He told Robert Moynihan in 1983, "What I think I have in common with the school of deconstruction is the mode of negative thinking or negative awareness, in the technical, philosophical sense of the negative, but which comes to me through negative theology  ... There is no escape, there is simply the given, and there is nothing that we can do." [40]

Bloom's association with the Western canon has provoked a substantial interest in his opinion concerning the relative importance of contemporary writers. In the late 1980s, Bloom told an interviewer: "Probably the most powerful living Western writer is Samuel Beckett. He's certainly the most authentic." [41]

After Beckett's death in 1989, Bloom has pointed towards other authors as the new main figures of the Western literary canon.

Concerning British writers: "Geoffrey Hill is the strongest British poet now active", and "no other contemporary British novelist seems to me to be of Iris Murdoch's eminence". Since Murdoch's death, Bloom has expressed admiration for novelists such as Peter Ackroyd, Will Self, John Banville, and A. S. Byatt. [42]

In his 2003 book, Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds, he named the Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize winner José Saramago as "the most gifted novelist alive in the world today", and as "one of the last titans of an expiring literary genre".

Of American novelists, he declared in 2003 that "there are four living American novelists I know of who are still at work and who deserve our praise". [43] He claimed that "they write the Style of our Age, each has composed canonical works," and he identified them as Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, and Don DeLillo. He named their strongest works as, respectively, Gravity's Rainbow , The Crying of Lot 49 and Mason & Dixon ; American Pastoral and Sabbath's Theater ; Blood Meridian ; and Underworld . He has added to this estimate the work of John Crowley, with special interest in his Aegypt Sequence and novel Little, Big saying that "only a handful of living writers in English can equal him as a stylist, and most of them are poets ... only Philip Roth consistently writes on Crowley's level". [44]

In Kabbalah and Criticism (1975), Bloom identified Robert Penn Warren, James Merrill, John Ashbery, and Elizabeth Bishop as the most important living American poets. By the 1990s, he regularly named A.R. Ammons along with Ashbery and Merrill, and he has lately come to identify Henri Cole as the crucial American poet of the generation following those three. He has expressed great admiration for the Canadian poets Anne Carson, particularly her verse novel Autobiography of Red, and A. F. Moritz, whom Bloom calls "a true poet." [45] Bloom also lists Jay Wright as one of only a handful of major living poets.[ citation needed ]

Bloom's introduction to Modern Critical Interpretations: Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1986) features his canon of the "twentieth-century American Sublime", the greatest works of American art produced in the 20th century. Playwright Tony Kushner sees Bloom as an important influence on his work. [46]


For many years, Bloom's writings have drawn polarized responses, even among established literary scholars. Bloom has been called "probably the most celebrated literary critic in the United States" [47] and "America's best-known man of letters". [48] A New York Times article in 1994 said that many younger critics understand Bloom as an "outdated oddity," [49] whereas a 1998 New York Times article called him "one of the most gifted of contemporary critics." [50]

James Wood has described Bloom as "Vatic, repetitious, imprecisely reverential, though never without a peculiar charm of his own—a kind of campiness, in fact—Bloom as a literary critic in the last few years has been largely unimportant." [48] Bloom responded to questions about Wood in an interview by saying: "There are period pieces in criticism as there are period pieces in the novel and in poetry. The wind blows and they will go away ... There's nothing to the man ... I don't want to talk about him". [51]

In the early 21st century, Bloom has often found himself at the center of literary controversy after criticizing popular writers such as Adrienne Rich, [52] Maya Angelou, [53] and David Foster Wallace. [54] In the pages of the Paris Review , he criticized the populist-leaning poetry slam, saying: "It is the death of art." When Doris Lessing was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, he bemoaned the "pure political correctness" of the award to an author of "fourth-rate science fiction." [55]

In 2004 author Naomi Wolf wrote an article for New York Magazine accusing Harold Bloom of a sexual "encroachment" more than two decades earlier, by touching her thigh. She said that what she alleged Bloom did was not harassment, either legally or emotionally, and she did not think herself a "victim", but that she had harbored this secret for 21 years. Explaining why she had finally gone public with the charges, Wolf wrote, "I began, nearly a year ago, to try—privately—to start a conversation with my alma mater that would reassure me that steps had been taken in the ensuing years to ensure that unwanted sexual advances of this sort weren't still occurring. I expected Yale to be responsive. After nine months and many calls and e-mails, I was shocked to conclude that the atmosphere of collusion that had helped to keep me quiet twenty years ago was still intact—as secretive as a Masonic lodge." [56] When asked about the allegations in 2015, Bloom stated, "I refuse to even use the name of this person. I call her Dracula's daughter, because her father was a Dracula scholar. I have never in my life been indoors with Dracula's daughter. When she came to the door of my house unbidden, my youngest son turned her away. Once, I was walking up to campus, and she fell in with me and said, 'May I walk with you, Professor Bloom?' I said nothing." [57]

MormonVoices, a group associated with Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research, included Bloom on its Top Ten Anti-Mormon Statements of 2011 list for stating "The current head of the Mormon Church, Thomas S. Monson, known to his followers as 'prophet, seer and revelator,' is indistinguishable from the secular plutocratic oligarchs who exercise power in our supposed democracy". [58]

Selected bibliography


  • Shelley's Mythmaking. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959.
  • The Visionary Company: A Reading of English Romantic Poetry. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961. Rev. and enlarged ed. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1971.
  • Blake's Apocalypse: A Study in Poetic Argument. Anchor Books: New York: Doubleday and Co., 1963.
  • The Literary Criticism of John Ruskin.; Edited with introduction. New York: DoubleDay, 1965.
  • Walter Pater: Marius the Epicurean; edition with introduction. New York: New American Library, 1970.
  • Romanticism and Consciousness: Essays in Criticism.; Edited with introduction. New York: Norton, 1970.
  • Yeats. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970. ISBN   0-19-501603-3
  • The Ringers in the Tower: Studies in Romantic Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971.
  • The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry . New York: Oxford University Press, 1973; 2d ed., 1997. ISBN   0-19-511221-0
  • The Selected Writings of Walter Pater; edition with introduction and notes. New York: New American Library, 1974.
  • A Map of Misreading. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975.
  • Kabbalah and Criticism. New York : Seabury Press, 1975. ISBN   0-8264-0242-9
  • Poetry and Repression: Revisionism from Blake to Stevens. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976.
  • Figures of Capable Imagination. New York: Seabury Press, 1976.
  • Wallace Stevens: The Poems of our Climate. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1977.
  • Deconstruction and Criticism. New York: Seabury Press, 1980.
  • The Flight to Lucifer: Gnostic Fantasy. New York: Vintage Books, 1980. ISBN   0-394-74323-7
  • Agon: Towards a Theory of Revisionism. New York : Oxford University Press, 1982.
  • The Breaking of the Vessels. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.
  • The Poetics of Influence: New and Selected Criticism. New Haven: Henry R. Schwab, 1988.
  • Ruin the Sacred Truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989.
  • The Book of J: Translated from the Hebrew by David Rosenberg; Interpreted by Harold Bloom. New York: Grove Press, 1990 ISBN   0-8021-4191-9
  • The Gospel of Thomas: The Hidden Sayings of Jesus; translation with introduction, critical edition of the Coptic text and notes by Marvin Meyer, with an interpretation by Harold Bloom. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.
  • The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation ; Touchstone Books; ISBN   0-671-86737-7 (1992; August 1993)
  • The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages . New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994.
  • Omens of Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996.
  • Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human. New York: 1998. ISBN   1-57322-751-X
  • How to Read and Why. New York: 2000. ISBN   0-684-85906-8
  • Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages. New York: 2001.
  • El futur de la imaginació (The Future of the Imagination). Barcelona: Anagrama / Empúries, 2002. ISBN   84-7596-927-5
  • Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds. New York: 2003. ISBN   0-446-52717-3
  • Hamlet: Poem Unlimited. New York: 2003.
  • The Best Poems of the English Language: From Chaucer Through Frost. New York: 2004. ISBN   0-06-054041-9
  • Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? New York: 2004. ISBN   1-57322-284-4
  • Jesus and Yahweh: The Names Divine 2005. ISBN   1-57322-322-0
  • American Religious Poems: An Anthology By Harold Bloom 2006. ISBN   1-931082-74-X
  • Fallen Angels, illustrated by Mark Podwal. Yale University Press, 2007. ISBN   0-300-12348-5
  • Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems Harper, 2010. ISBN   0-06-192305-2
  • The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life- Yale University Press, 2011. ISBN   0-300-16760-1
  • The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of The King James Bible Yale University Press, 2011. ISBN   0-300-16683-4
  • The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime. Spiegel & Grau, 2015. ISBN   0-812-99782-4
  • Falstaff: Give Me Life. Scribner, 2017. ISBN   978-1-5011-6413-2
  • Cleopatra: I Am Fire and Air. Scribner, 2017. ISBN   978-1-5011-6416-3
  • Lear: The Great Image of Authority. Scribner, 2018. ISBN   978-1-5011-6419-4
  • Iago: The Strategies of Evil. Scribner, 2018. ISBN   978-1-5011-6422-4
  • Macbeth: A Dagger of the Mind. Scribner, 2019. ISBN   978-1-5011-6425-5


  • "On Extended Wings"; Wallace Stevens' Longer Poems. By Helen Hennessy Vendler, (Review), The New York Times, October 5, 1969.
  • "Poets' meeting in the heyday of their youth; A Single Summer With Lord Byron", The New York Times, February 15, 1970.
  • "An angel's spirit in a decaying (and active) body", The New York Times, November 22, 1970.
  • "The Use of Poetry", The New York Times, November 12, 1975.
  • "Northrop Frye exalting the designs of romance; The Secular Scripture", The New York Times, April 18, 1976.
  • "On Solitude in America", The New York Times, August 4, 1977.
  • "The Critic/Poet", The New York Times, February 5, 1978.
  • "A Fusion of Traditions; Rosenberg", The New York Times, July 22, 1979.
  • "Straight Forth Out of Self", The New York Times, June 22, 1980.
  • "The Heavy Burden of the Past; Poets", The New York Times, January 4, 1981.
  • "The Pictures of the Poet; The Painting and Drawings of William Blake, by Martin Butlin. Vol. I, Text. Vol. II, Plates", (Review) The New York Times, January 3, 1982.
  • "A Novelist's Bible; The Story of the Stories, The Chosen People and Its God. By Dan Jacobson", (Review) The New York Times, October 17, 1982.
  • "Isaac Bashevis Singer's Jeremiad; The Penitent, By Isaac Bashevis Singer", (Review) The New York Times, September 25, 1983.
  • "Domestic Derangements; A Late Divorce, By A. B. Yehoshua Translated by Hillel Halkin", (Review) The New York Times, February 19, 1984.
  • "War Within the Walls; In the Freud Archives, By Janet Malcolm", (Review) The New York Times, May 27, 1984.
  • "His Long Ordeal by Laughter; Zuckerman Bound, A Trilogy and Epilogue. By Philip Roth", (Review) The New York Times, May 19, 1985.
  • "A Comedy of Worldly Salvation; The Good Apprentice, By Iris Murdoch", (Review) The New York Times, January 12, 1986.
  • "Freud, the Greatest Modern Writer" (Review) The New York Times, March 23, 1986.
  • "Passionate Beholder of America in Trouble; Look Homeward, A Life of Thomas Wolfe. By David Herbert Donald", (Review) The New York Times, February 8, 1987.
  • "The Book of the Father; The Messiah of Stockholm, By Cynthia Ozick", (Review) The New York Times, March 22, 1987.
  • "Still Haunted by Covenant", (Review) The New York Times, January 31, 1988.
  • "New Heyday of Gnostic Heresies", The New York Times, April 26, 1992.
  • "A Jew Among the Cossacks; The first English translation of Isaac Babel's journal about his service with the Russian cavalry. 1920 Diary, By Isaac Babel", (Review) The New York Times, June 4, 1995.
  • "Kaddish; By Leon Wieseltier", (Review) The New York Times, October 4, 1998.
  • "View; On First Looking into Gates's Crichton", The New York Times, June 4, 2000.
  • "What Ho, Malvolio!'; The election, as Shakespeare might have seen it", The New York Times, December 6, 2000.
  • "Macbush", (play) Vanity Fair, April 2004.
  • "The Lost Jewish Culture" The New York Review of Books 54/11 (June 28, 2007) : 44–47 [reviews The Dreams of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950–1492, translated, edited, and with an introduction by Peter Cole
  • "The Glories of Yiddish" The New York Review of Books 55/17 (November 6, 2008) [reviews History of the Yiddish Language, by Max Weinreich, edited by Paul Glasser, translated from the Yiddish by Shlomo Noble with the assistance of Joshua A. Fishman]
  • "Yahweh Meets R. Crumb", The New York Review of Books , 56/19 (December 3, 2009) [reviews The Book of Genesis, illustrated by R. Crumb]
  • "Will This Election Be the Mormon Breakthrough?", The New York Times , November 12, 2011.
  • "Richard III: Victim or Monster? Asks Harold Bloom", Newsweek , February 11, 2013.
  • Introduction to The Invention of Influence by Peter Cole, Talbet, January 21, 2014.

See also

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  45. Hollander, John (2002), "Enriching Shadow: A. F. Moritz's Early Poems", in Moritz, A. F. (ed.), Early Poems, Toronto: Insomniac Press, p. 17
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Further reading