Professor at Yale University, theorist of literature, this leading scholar of Shakespeare's work, English romantics and pre-romantics died on October 14, at the age of 89.
It was a character as we do not cross much. A true institution within Yale (New Haven, Connecticut), where he taught humanities for more than sixty years, Harold Bloom was both an academic, professor, literary theorist, author of twenty books, many of which bestsellers, and one of the most famous literary critics of the United States. A member of the award-winning American Academy of Arts and Letters, he died Monday, Oct. 14 at the hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. He was 89 years old.
When he was in Manhattan, Harold Bloom was entertaining in his home in Washington Square. Colossal square silhouette in a large throne chair, he looked like a monarch ruler over an ocean of books. But a monarch a little weary, the eyebrow in battle and the sloop hanging. Disillusioned? "Dinosaurs like me have lost the battle, there is no doubt," he said in recent years. He had always defended the idea of "high" literature based on a small number of matrix and canonical texts – the "Western canon" representing in his eyes, in poetry as in prose, the unsurpassable aesthetic model (The Western CanonHarcourt Brace, 1994, untranslated).
Great slayer of what he called "The school of resentment" – in which he included the feminists, the Marxists, the neo-historicists or the representatives of the Cultural studies – Harold Bloom condemned all those who, according to him, had taken literature hostage to defend through it causes unrelated to its true essence. Anyone who, according to him, forgot or pretended to forget that fiction reading is first and foremost a way to dive into "The universal abyss of the self".
A "monster" of reading
A counter-current of all movements related to identity themes, his positions, often described as misogynist and reactionary, earned him constant criticism. He was criticized for working to strengthen the supposed supremacy of Western, male and white literature. Bloom did not care, he even laughed. "They decided that I'm Satan, and I decided they're just a group of harpies and cheerleaders", he declared World in 2003. He also said: "The true Marxist criticism is me, but rather Groucho side than Karl side …"