The Western Canon by Harold Bloom Review By Dan Geddes 11 February See also reviews. The Western Canon. by Harold Bloom. Harold Bloom’s Elegy for the Western Literary Canon. 1. Introduction— Sympathetic viewpoint towards modern literary theory. Yesterday, I did a. It also insists that aesthetic originality is the only qualification for inclusion in the Canon of Western literature. To illustrate his thesis, Bloom selects

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His work remains for me a touchstone in deepening my appreciation for literature, modern literary theory notwithstanding. The Books and the School of the Ages’; Books”.

A culture’s canon is an evolving consensus of individual canons. The works favored by the School of Resentment are usually thinner and more disposable, and simply cannot be reread. The canon survives because of its aesthetic power, and despite any tendentiousness on the part of the creative artist.

Norman Fruman wrote that ” The Western Canon is a heroically brave, formidably learned and often unbearably sad response to the present state of the humanities”. The Western Canon is Bloom’s best-known book alongside The Anxiety of Influenceand was a surprise bestseller upon its release in the United States.

Lawrencethough I hate him in a way, Jane Austentoo.

Bloom does, and state that it this dialectic that is the crucial one in deciding whether a book will enter the Western Canon or not. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Bloom argues against what he calls the ” School of Resentment “, which includes feminist literary criticismMarxist literary criticismLacaniansNew HistoricismDeconstructionistsand semioticians.

However, the fact that great literature is written by the aesthetic elite gets conflated in the modern university system as being written by a product of the socioeconomic elite, and is, under Marxist interpretations of literature, just another tool of that socioeconomic repression of one class by another. For Bloom, the cardinal error of the School, is that it fails to appreciate the sheer aesthetic power of canonical writers.

Bloom would later disown the list, saying that it was written at his editor’s insistence and distracted from the book’s intention. To use the paired poems by William Blake on the chimney sweep that were quoted in the last post as an example, the economic relations of the various classes may be illustrated by the poems, but the originality and literary genius is took to create those poems are not illuminated at all by a knowledge of those relations.


In these lectures on the value and the interpretation of literature Prof. Bloom disagrees with the modern theories of literary interpretation can be shown in this diagram from Integral Theory:. Canonical writers changed the medium, the language they were working in. Bloom sees the canonical writers as operating from largely aesthetic motives, so that the supposed political or moral content of their works is tertiary, and only weakens the works when it appears.

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But even the creative genius will bear strong traces of influence from the past genius, which he or she will try to mask through various methods: Thus Shakespeare provides the harkld of influence for nearly all writers to follow. The anxiety of influence sees each new potential writer as largely an ephebe, who has digested a great deal of bloom works even before he has begun to write, but who must struggle to overcome these influences, lest his own originality be strangled stillborn.

The Books and School of the Ages Cover of the first edition. Weinstein posits, I much prefer to center the experience of literature within the realm of the individual writer ffor reader, as Prof. Weinstein used in his lecture. And for Western writers, the principal anxiety of influence comes from Shakespeare, who, as Bloom likes to repeat, is the canon.

However, modern literary theory interprets literature through the lens of the culture and the society, almost to the exclusion of the individual aesthetic. Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles created via the Article Wizard.

This is where Prof. As such, the essays must stand on their own merit, rather than on cannon provocative packaging in which they are wrapped. But along with Joseph Campbell, Prof.

The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages – Wikipedia

According to Harold Bloom, why have a cannon in the first place? Retrieved 29 September By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Retrieved from ” https: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Rant against the Cant: Reading a great piece of literature is more daunting and requires more from a reader than reading the average bestseller, and for this reason it is going to be elitist almost by definition.


He shows giving examples of how each of these schools produces new insights that were not available before from more traditional forms of literary interpretation. Reading literature may help you understand the culture in which it was created, but having that as a major value of literature is something I think Prof.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Mine includes writers I don’t necessarily like. Bloom’s canon is in many ways mine.

This school is composed of Feminists, Historicists, Deconstructionists, and Afrocentrists, among others, all of who wish to widen the canon so as to include works of the oppressed: Cover of the first edition. But Blooms claims to be indifferent to the implications of this, believing that those who read for aesthetic enjoyment alone will always be around, and the rest, many of whom will be snatched up culture studies, can be left to their fate.

This brief summary does not begin to cover the multifaceted complaints against the canon made by the School of Resentment, whose various agendas, given ample time to fester in lifelong university careers, attack the canon on a variety of grounds. Skip to toolbar About WordPress.

Bloom’s Elegy for Western Literature – The Western Canon

Create a free website or blog at WordPress. This view is something he is vehemently against, the idea that Paradise Lost, for example, can be reduced to an interplay of economic forces. To sum up, the eleegy why Prof.

Forming bookends around his incisive critiques of twenty-six representative canonical authors, Bloom engages in a polemic against what he terms the School of Resentment.

Whereas the School may see all writing as a political action, Bloom views literature as a largely solitary endeavor, a way we elety the self-within.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment cannon I wanted to do a post on the opposing viewpoint, that is, someone who is very much unsympathetic with the modern schools of literary interpretation. Print Hardcover and Paperback.

Last modified: January 4, 2020