Harold Bloom Quotes


Not a moment passes these days without fresh rushes of academic lemmings off the cliffs they proclaim the political responsibilities of the critic but eventually all this moralizing will subside.

I realized early on that the academy and the literary world alike

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

Unless you have read and absorbed the best that can be read and absorbed you will not think clearly or well.

In fact it is Shakespeare who gives us the map of the mind. It is Shakespeare who invents Freudian Psychology. Freud finds ways of translating it into supposedly analytical vocabulary.

Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?

At our present bad moment we need above all to recover our sense of literary individuality and of poetic autonomy.

The morality of scholarship as currently practiced is to encourage everyone to replace difficult pleasures by pleasures universally accessible precisely because they are easier.

The art and passion of reading well and deeply is waning but [Jane] Austen still inspires people to become fanatical readers.

Reading well is one of the greatest pleasures that solitude can afford you.

Literature is achieved anxiety.

Real reading is a lonely activity.

Criticism starts - it has to start - with a real passion for reading. It can come in adolescence even in your twenties but you must fall in love with poems.

The most beautiful prose paragraph yet written by any American.

The very best of all Merwin: I have been reading William since 1952 and always with joy.

Shakespeare is the true multicultural author. He exists in all languages. He is put on the stage everywhere. Everyone feels that they are represented by him on the stage.

The world does not get to be a better or a worse place; it just gets more senescent.

More even than Southern Presbyterians and Southern Methodists the Baptists provided the great mass of Confederate enlisted men.

We read frequently if not unknowingly in search of a mind more original than our own.

Everyone wants a prodigy to fail; it makes our mediocrity more bearable.

There is no method except yourself.

I take it that a successful therapy is an oxymoron.

It is hard to go on living without some hope of encountering the extraordinary.

Reading well makes children more interesting both to themselves and others a process in which they will develop a sense of being separate and distinct selves.

I have never believed that the critic is the rival of the poet but I do believe that criticism is a genre of literature or it does not exist

All that a critic as critic can give poets is the deadly encouragement that never ceases to remind them of how heavy their inheritance is.

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.

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.

No poem not even Shakespeare or Milton or Chaucer is ever strong enough to totally exclude every crucial precursor text or poem.

If we read the Western Canon in order to form our social political or personal moral values I firmly believe we will become monsters of selfishness and exploitation.

I think Freud is about contamination but I think that is something he learned from Shakespeare because Shakespeare is about nothing but contamination you might say.

Read deeply not to believe not to accept not to contradict but to learn to share in that one nature that writes and reads.

We all fear loneliness madness dying. Shakespeare and Walt Whitman Leopardi and Hart Crane will not cure those fears. And yet these poets bring us fire and light.

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

The idea of Herman Melville in a writing class is always distressing to me.

Socrates in Plato formulates ideas of order: the Iliad like Shakespeare knows that a violent disorder is a great order.

To be a poet did not occur to me. It was indeed a threshold guarded by demons.

Indeed the three prophecies about the death of individual art are in their different ways those of Hegel Marx and Freud. I don't see any way of getting beyond those prophecies.

I don't believe in myths of decline or myths of progress even as regards the literary scene.

What we call a poem is mostly what is not there on the page. The strength of any poem is the poems that it has managed to exclude.

It is by extending oneself by exercising some capacity previously unused that you come to a better knowledge of your own potential.

What matters in literature in the end is surely the idiosyncratic the individual the flavor or the color of a particular human suffering.

Criticism in the universities I'll have to admit has entered a phase where I am totally out of sympathy with 95% of what goes on. It's Stalinism without Stalin.

I am naive enough to read incessantly because I cannot on my own get to know enough people profoundly enough.

We read to find ourselves more fully and more strangely than otherwise we could hope to find.

Sometimes one succeeds sometimes one fails.

I think the Greek New Testament is the strongest and most successful misreading of a great prior text in the entire history of influence.

There is a God and his name is Aristophanes.

Hamlet Kiekegaard Kafka are ironists in the wake of Jesus. All Western irony is a repetition of Jesus' enigmas/riddles in amalgam with the ironies of Socrates.

Personality in our sense is a Shakespearean invention.

To read in the service of any ideology is not in my judgment to read at all

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

No one yet has managed to be post-Shakespearean.

Shakespeare is universal.