Third times a charm…
June 27, 2004
At times this book is amusing, entertaining, sometimes even enlightening but most of all exasperating. Harold Bloom has spent half a century digging deep into the best that our literary culture has to offer, but all he has given us, once again, is another 800 pages of unedited notes. In his recent book Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds each Genius is regrettably reduced to a few pages of off-hand comments and we have seen many of these comments too many times before in his books on the Western Canon and Shakespeare.
There is some humor and insight but for every insight we get thirty pages of unexplained marginalia like the following: “Negation of seeming realities in an ostensibly Christian society is the essence of Kierkegaard’s genius, but this was an anxiety for him, since Kierkegaard had to be post-Hegelian, even as we have to be post-Freudian.” This might make a great thesis statement for a long article (or even a book) but Bloom tosses it off like it is a self-evident truth that needs no further elaboration. I suspect it meant something interesting to Bloom, but it is lost on those mortals among us who cannot read his mind (and he complains about the obfuscation of the French!)
I guess if you are as well-established and respected as Harold Bloom then you no longer need to write books, you can merely publish them.