The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life

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"Literary criticism, as I attempt to practice it," writes Harold Bloom in The Anatomy of Influence, "is in the first place literary, that is to say, personal and passionate."

For more than half a century, Bloom has shared his profound knowledge of the written word with students and readers. In this, his most comprehensive and accessible study of influence, Bloom leads us through the labyrinthine paths which link the writers and critics who have informed and inspired him for so many years. The result is "a critical self-portrait," a sustained meditation on a life lived with and through the great works of the Western canon: Why has influence been my lifelong obsessive concern? Why have certain writers found me and not others? What is the end of a literary life?

Featuring extended analyses of Bloom's most cherished poets—Shakespeare, Whitman, and Crane—as well as inspired appreciations of Emerson, Tennyson, Browning, Yeats, Ashbery, and others, The Anatomy of Influence adapts Bloom's classic work The Anxiety of Influence to show us what great literature is, how it comes to be, and why it matters. Each chapter maps startling new literary connections that suddenly seem inevitable once Bloom has shown us how to listen and to read. A fierce and intimate appreciation of the art of literature on a scale that the author will not again attempt, The Anatomy of Influence follows the sublime works it studies, inspiring the reader with a sense of something ever more about to be.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chaosmogony - LibraryThing

I'm going to waffle here, because I didn't exactly finish this one, nor did I exactly hate it. I got about halfway through, and mostly enjoyed the sections on Shakespeare as he fits into Bloom's theme ... Read full review

THE ANATOMY OF INFLUENCE: Literature as a Way of Life

User Review  - Kirkus

The distinguished critic again examines the interactions among writers that have been the main focus of his attention since The Anxiety of Influence (1973).As in that seminal work, Bloom (Humanities ... Read full review

Contents

THE SKEPTICAL SUBLIME
9
Shalespeares People
35
KingLear 4 8
48
The Tempest
62
The Sonnets
78
Hamlet and the Art of Knowing
87
Miltons Hamlet
94
oyce Dante Shakespeare Milton
109
Emerson and a Poetry Yet to Be Written
209
Whitmans Tally
218
Whitmanian Ebbings 23 5
235
Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction of the Romantic Self 24 8
248
Lawrence andWhitman
255
Hart Cranes Magnificence
266
Ashbery Ammons Merwin Strand
294
34
334

Dr ol1nson and Critical lnfluence
126
Dryden Pater Milton
133

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About the author (2011)

Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University. He lives in New Haven, CT.

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