Harold Bloom


American Literary Critic and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University

Author Quotes

Spiritual power and spiritual authority notoriously shade over into both politics and poetry.

The most beautiful prose paragraph yet written by any American.

There is no method except yourself.

We are great fools. He has spent his life in idleness, we say; I have done nothing today. What, have you not lived? That is not only the most fundamental but the most illustrious of your occupations. . . . To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Our great and glorious masterpiece is to live appropriately.

A political reading of Shakespeare is bound to be less interesting than a Shakespearean reading of politics.

Brecht was a cynical bohemian bogey of the middle classes, but also much more than a mere provocateur. He developed and dramatized his political knowledge in remarkable ways, and was an outspoken, radical opponent of the war, its nationalism and its capitalism

Everything in life is arbitrary yet must be over-determined in literature. Jean McGarry knows how to tell a persuasive tale illuminating these truths.

I am not unique in my elegiac sadness at watching reading die, in the era that celebrates Stephen King and J.K. Rowling rather than Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll.

I would say that there is no future for literary studies as such in the United States.

Karl Marx is irrelevant to many millions of them because, in America, religion is the poetry of the people and not their opiate.

One breaks into the canon only by aesthetic strength.

Real reading is a lonely activity.

Stephen King is Cervantes compared with David Foster Wallace. We have no standards left.

The old-fashioned sins of reading is the only sense that matters.

Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds.

We can be reluctant to recognize how much of our culture was literary, particularly now that so many of the institutional purveyors of literature happily have joined in proclaiming its death. A substantial number of Americans who believe they worship God actually worship three major literary characters: the Yahweh of the J Writer (earliest author of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers), the Jesus of the Gospel of Mark, and Allah of the Koran.

A superb and dreadfully moving account of the glory and subsequent murder by the Romanians of the Jewish city in Odessa... Odessa is both celebration and lament and equally impressive as both.

But in the end, in the end one is alone. We are all of us alone. I mean I'm told these days we have to consider ourselves as being in society... but in the end one knows one is alone, that one lives at the heart of a solitude.

Exist In the finest critics one hears the full cry of the human. They tell one why it matters to read.

I can only write with a ballpoint pen, with a Rolling Writer, they?re called, a black Rolling Writer on a lined yellow legal pad on a certain kind of clipboard. And then someone else types it.

If I were to sum up the negative reactions to my work, I think there are two primary causes: one is that if there is discourse about anxiety it is necessarily going to induce anxiety. It will represent a return of the repressed for a great many people.

King die hard, in Shakespeare and in life.

One doesn't want to read badly any more than live badly, since time will not relent. I don't know that we owe God or nature a death, but nature will collect anyway, and we certainly owe mediocrity nothing, whatever collectivity it purports to advance or at least represent.

Rebecca Mead's My Life in Middlemarch is a wise, humane, and delightful study of what some regard as the best novel in English. Mead has discovered an original and highly personal way to make herself an inhabitant both of the book and of George Eliot's imaginary city. Though I have read and taught the book these many years I find myself desiring to go back to it after reading Rebecca Mead's work.

Such a reader does not read for easy pleasure or to expiate social guilt, but to enlarge a solitary existence.

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American Literary Critic and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University