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Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Mindsby Harold Bloom
Synopses & Reviews
In a monumental achievement of scholarship, America's preeminent literary critic presents an unprecedented celebration of one hundred of the most creative literary minds in history.
What is genius? It is the trait, says Harold Bloom, of standing both of and above its age, the ancient principle that recognizes and hallows the God within us, and the gift of breathing life into what is best in every living person.
From the Bible to Socrates, through the transcendent achievements of Shakespeare and Dante, down through the ages to Hemingway, Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, the author explores the numerous parallels between his chosen geniuses and the surprising ways they have influenced one another over the centuries. Genius also offers revealing excerpts from their works that continue to surprise, enchant, and move readers time after time. Suffused with his infectious and inexhaustible enthusiasm, Bloom's insightful analyses of the poetry of Milton, Shelley, and Whitman; the drama of Ibsen and Tennessee Williams; and the narratives of Melville and Tolstoy, among many others, illuminate and expand our common understanding and love of these great works of art.
Illustrated with portraits of many of the featured writers, this book is the culmination of Harold Bloom's half-century of teaching and writing about literature — and a grand yet intimate tour of Western literary and spiritual culture in one magnificent volume. Enriching as it informs, Genius is a book to savor and to treasure.
"A colossus among critics....His enthusiasm for literature is a joyous intoxicant." New York Times Sunday Magazine
"Although the book is a delight to read, its real value lies in the author's ability to provoke the reader into thinking about literature, genius, and related topics. No similar work discusses literary genius in this way or covers this many writers." Library Journal
"A master entertainer." Newsweek
"One of our biggest critical guns...vast learning and elegant prose...an engaging antagonist." Kirkus Reviews
"Bloom backs up his choices with such effortless and engaging erudition that their idiosyncrasy and casualness become strengths....[R]eaders will find it appropriately enthusiastic and wild." Publishers Weekly
"To read Bloom's commentaries (as Hazlitt said about the great tragic actor Edmund Kean) is like reading classic authors by flashes of lightning." M. H. Abrams
"America's paramount literary critic." Houston Chronicle
"Our most valuable critic....Harold Bloom reminds us what matters." Boston Globe
"The indispensable critic." New York Review of Books
"Brilliant, outrageous, headstrong, witty, heterodox, full of charm, immense learning, and tremendous zest." Anthony Hecht
Book News Annotation:
Bloom (humanities, Yale U. and English, New York University) offers critiques profiling 100 of the most creative literary minds in history based on his selections after a half-century of teaching literature. The critiques average several pages in length, beginning with illuminating excerpts from Bloom's chosen geniuses ranging from Milton to Melville, and Dickinson to Socrates. Through his critiques Bloom explores parallels between his chosen geniuses and ways in which they have influenced one another. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Bible to Ralph Ellison, America's most prominent and bestselling literary critic takes an enlightening look at the concept of genius through the ages in a celebration of the greatest creative writers of all time. 50 photos.
About the Author
Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University, Berg Professor of English at New York University, and a former Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard. His more than twenty-five books include How to Read and Why, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, The Western Canon, The Book of J, and The Anxiety of Influence. He is a MacArthur Prize Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of many awards, including the Academy's Gold Medal for Criticism and the International Prize of Catalonia.
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