Published in 1999, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human provided a mammoth capstone to the career of one of the most important literary critics of our era. Though the book was called by some the most significant contribution to Shakespeare scholarship since the time of Dr. Johnson, Harold Bloom remained unsatisfied. He had devoted far too much of the chapter about the Bard's greatest work to questions regarding the play's origin, and "ruefully realized only later that most of what I thought and felt about Hamlet remained unsaid." Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, which he calls a "postlude" to Shakespeare, is an attempt to rectify this error. He sells himself short. A "postlude" sounds like a chatty wrap up, or a glorified appendix. Whereas here Bloom has distilled a life's passion for the centerpiece of his "secular scripture." "What was it in Shakespeare," an awestruck Bloom asks, "that broke free in Hamlet and in Hamlet?" Of course, there is no clear answer. But in Hamlet: Poem Unlimited Bloom, nonetheless, celebrates the question. Farley, Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In his New York Times bestseller Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Harold Bloom showed us how Shakespeare shaped human consciousness and addressed the question of authorship in Hamlet. In Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, our most celebrated critic turns his attention to a reading of the play itself and to Shakespeare's most enigmatic and memorable character.
Hamlet: Poem Unlimited is Bloom's attempt to uncover the mystery of both Prince Hamlet and the play itself, how both prince and drama are able to break through the conventions of theatrical mimesis and the representation of character, making us question the very nature of theatrical illusion. In twenty-five brief chapters, Bloom takes us through the major soliloquies, scenes, characters, and action of the play, to explore the enigma at the heart of the drama, that is central to its universal appeal.
Every reader of Shakespeare will delight in this step-by-step analysis by our most beloved critic.
"Shakespeare criticism that's big, alive, towering, deep, passionate - in an age that so industriously miniaturizes and demeans its literature." Kirkus Reviews
"Bloom makes no concessions to readers who lack a deep familiarity with the play. Nor is it for any reader with a thin skin about Bloom's assumptions about the Anglo-European literary legacy. Short, sophisticated and opinionated, this is a thorny goodie for Bardolators and Bloomians." Publishers Weekly
"As Bloom parses this indelible creation, icon and "disturbance," he shares his exaltation, once again, over Shakespeare's genius and timeless vision." Donna Seaman, Booklist
In his "New York Times" bestseller "Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, " Harold Bloom showed readers how Shakespeare shaped human consciousness and addressed the question of authorship in Hamlet. In "Hamlet: Poem Unlimited, " the celebrated critic turns his attention to a reading of the play itself and to Shakespeare's most enigmatic and memorable character.
About the Author
Harold Bloom, foremost literary critic and bestselling writer, is the author of numerous books, including the forthcoming Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds; How to Read and Why; Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human; The Western Canon; and The Anxiety of Influence. Among his many awards and honorary degrees, he holds the Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and, most recently, the International Prize of Catalonia. A MacArthur Prize fellow, he is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University and Berg Professor of English at New York University.
Table of Contents
1.Inferring Hamlet --2.Horatio --3.Plays within plays within plays --4.Two soliloquies --5.Ophelia --6.Shakespeare to the players --7. Themousetrap : contrary will --8.Gertrude --9.Claudius --10. Theimpostume --11. Thegrave-digger --12.Wonder-wounded hearers --13.In my heart there was a kind of fighting --14.We defy augury --15.Let it be --16.Apotheosis and tragedy --17.Hamlet and the high places --18.Fortinbras --19.Had I but time, o, I could tell you --20.Annihilation : Hamlet's wake --21. Thefusion of high and popular art --22.Hamlet as the limit of stage drama --23. Theend of our time --24. Thehero of consciousness --25.Hamlet and no end.