Synopses & Reviews
In this inspiring book, Harold Bloom, our preeminent literary critic, takes us from the Bible to twentieth-century writing, searching for the ways in which literature can inform our lives. Through comparisons of the Book of Job and Ecclesiastes; Plato and Homer; Cervantes and Shakespeare; Montaigne and Bacon; Johnson and Goethe; Emerson and Nietzsche; Freud and Proust; and finally a discussion of the Gospel of Thomas and St. Augustine, Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? distills for us the various and even contrary forms of wisdom that have shaped our thinking. For anyone who reads to find meaning, Bloom's new book will not only further understanding but also send readers with renewed enthusiasm and urgency back to the pages of the writers who have contributed most to our sense of who are. It is a profound and illuminating work that itself is certain to become part of our literary canon.
"Emulating one of his favorite critics, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Bloom returns once more to sift through the Western canon, this time to discern and describe those writers whose brand of wisdom he holds in highest esteem. Beginning with Job and Ecclesiastes, and ranging from Plato, Homer, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Francis Bacon, Johnson and Goethe to Emerson, Nietzsche, Freud and Proust, Bloom writes gracefully about each as he evaluates by comparison and teases out indicators of their subtle interrelationships. Into this highbrow brew he interjects a personal note, describing how he is writing in the aftermath of life-threatening illness and with a renewed sense of the preciousness of literature's great lessons. At the heart of Bloom's project is the ancient quarrel between 'poetry' and 'philosophy.' In Bloom's opinion, we ought not have to choose between Homer and Plato; we can have both, as long as we recognize that poetry is superior. Bloom considers Cervantes and Shakespeare the masters of wisdom in modern literature, 'equals of Ecclesiastes, and the Book of Job, of Homer and Plato.' He justifies his tastes with close readings of King Lear and Macbeth that find a Shakespearean variety of nihilism, a form of wisdom Bloom identifies as central to the poetic tradition. In his intricate discussion of each great writer, Bloom offers the rich perceptions of a scholar drawing on the whole of a long and thoughtful career. Agents, Glen Hartley and Lynn Chu. (Oct. 7)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"A critic who writes this well has a right to instruct us, even imperiously but the best thing about Harold Bloom is that he would be disappointed if we did not resist." Andrew Delbanco, The New York Times Book Review
"The latest from the venerable Bloom...may not always be easy going, but it's invariably rewarding and rich...Another work of uncompromised literary analysis, thought, and feeling, from the mind of Bloom: towering, real, invaluable." Kirkus Reviews
"Bloom's discoveries of wisdom through the ages are not comforting but often stark and terrifying. Yet they lend comfort in the nuances and sinuous rills of language....Bloom, this self-declared gnostic prophet and aging anxious aesthete, is magnificent." Providence Journal
"Bloom remains engaging enough to make you want to read him, argue with him and learn from him." Washington Post
In this inspiring book, a preeminent literary critic takes readers from the Bible to 20th-century writing, searching for the ways in which literature can inform our lives.
In one of his most inspiring books yet, Harold Bloom, our preeminent literary critic, takes the reader from the Bible through the twentieth century, searching for the ways literature can inform lives. Through comparisons of the Book of Job and Ecclesiastes, Plato and Homer, Johnson and Goethe, Cervantes and Shakespeare, Montaigne and Bacon, Emerson and Nietzsche, Freud and Proust, and finally discussions of the Gospel of Thomas and St. Augustine, Bloom distills the various—and even contrary—forms of wisdom that have shaped our thinking.
About the Author
Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University and a former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard. His more than twenty-five books include Hamlet; Genius; 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 and honorary degrees, including the Academy's Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism, the International Prize of Catalonia, and the Alfonso Reyes Prize of Mexico.