Synopses & Reviews
America's greatest cultural critic offers new ways of appreciating genius through a celebration of the greatest creative minds of all time. In the tradition of the bestselling the Western Canon, Genius is a monumental achievement of scholarship that offers a series of brief parallel appreciations of 100 of the greatest creative minds of all time. Ranging from the Bible and Socrates and Plato, through the transcendent achievements of Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Dante, down through the ages to Hemingway, Faulkner, Flannery O' Connor, and Ralph Ellison, Harold Bloom demonstrates throughout this landmark work not only his great erudition and gift for explication, but also his extraordinary contagious enthusiasm for the act of reading in all its variety. Not only does Bloom reveal the numerous influences and kinships between his chosen geniuses over the centuries, he also offers excerpts from their works that time after time surprise, enchant, and move the reader. Insight after insight from the marvelously fertile mind illuminate and expand the reader's understanding and appreciation for the great works of art that enrich all our lives the poetry of Milton and Shelley. Baudelaire and Rimabaud, Whitman and Eliot, Pessoa and Lorca; the drama of Ibsen, Pirandello, and Tennessee Williams; and the narratives of Melville, Tolstoy, Kafka, and Woolf. The introduction to each essay, often accompanied by a portrait--50 photos in all--and a revealing excerpt, functions as a delightful virtual anthology embedded in a wide-ranging study that enriches as it informs. This is a book 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
In the tradition of the bestselling the "Western Canon, Genius" is a monumental achievement of scholarship that offers a series of brief parallel appreciations of 100 of the greatest creative minds of all time.
What is genius? It is the trait, says Harold Bloom, of standing both of and above an 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. Now, 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. From the Bible to Socrates, through the transcendent masterpieces of Shakespeare and Dante, down through the ages to Hemingway, Faulkner, and Ralph Ellison, Harold Bloom explores the many parallels among his chosen geniuses and the surprising ways in which they have influenced one another over the centuries. Accompanied by revealing excerpts from their works that continue to astonish, enchant, and move readers, Bloom's insightful and spirited analyses illuminate and enlarge our common understanding of Western literary and spiritual culture...and offer us a grand yet intimate tour of it in one magnificent volume.