I finally received the hardcover version of this book yesterday from The Library of America (via UPS).
Our foremost literary critic on our most essential writers, from Emerson and Whitman to Hurston and Ellison, from Faulkner and O’Connor to Ursula K. LeGuin and Philip Roth.
No critic has better understood the ways writers influence one another—how literary traditions are made—and no writer has helped readers understand this better, than Harold Bloom. Over the course of a remarkable sixty-year career, in such bestselling books as The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and How to Read and Why, Bloom brought enormous insight and infectious enthusiasm to the great writers of the Western tradition, from Shakespeare and Cervantes to the British Romantics and the Russian masters. Now, for the first time, comes a collection of his brilliant writings about the American tradition, the ultimate guide to our nation’s literature.
Harold Bloom and the American Canon: A Conversation with David Mikics
Assembled with David Mikics (Slow Reading in a Hurried Age), this unprecedented collection gathers five decades’ worth of Bloom’s writings— much of it hard to find and long unavailable—including essays, occasional pieces, and introductions as well as excerpts from his books. It offers deep readings of 47 essential American writers, reflecting on the surprising ways they have influenced each other across more than two centuries. The story it tells, of American literature as a recurring artistic struggle for selfhood, speaks to the passion and power of the American spirit.
All of the visionary American writers who have long preoccupied Bloom―Emerson and Whitman, Hawthorne and Melville, and Dickinson, Faulkner, Crane, Frost, Stevens, and Bishop―make their appearance in The American Canon, along with Hemingway, James, O’Connor, Ellison, Hurston, Le Guin, Ashbery and many others. Bloom’s passion for these classic writers is contagious, and he reminds readers how they have shaped our sense of who we are, and how they can summon us to be better versions of ourselves. Bloom, Mikics writes, “is still our most inspirational critic, still the man who can enlighten us by telling us to read as if our lives depended on it: Because, he insists, they do.”
For readers who want to deepen their appreciation of American literature, there’s no better place to start than The American Canon.
ALSO BY HAROLD BLOOM
Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?” is the crucial question with which renowned literary critic Harold Bloom begins this impassioned book on the pleasures and benefits of reading well. For more than forty years, Bloom has transformed college students into lifelong readers with his unrivaled love for literature. Now, at a time when faster and easier electronic media threatens to eclipse the practice of reading, Bloom draws on his experience as critic, teacher, and prolific reader to plumb the great books for their sustaining wisdom.
Shedding all polemic, Bloom addresses the solitary reader, who, he urges, should read for the purest of all reasons: to discover and augment the self. His ultimate faith in the restorative power of literature resonates on every page of this infinitely rewarding and important book.