I maintain canonical standards for the study and appreciation of literature.
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I never met Ernst Robert Curtius, but we corresponded and I regard him as a forerunner.
And then the author of the third book was my own marvellous teacher. I was a Cornell freshman of 17 when I met Meyer Howard Abrams, MH Abrams, who to this day is my dear friend Mike.
The author of more than 40 books, Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale, where he has been teaching since earning his doctorate in 1955.
The theory of literary evolution he developed in his 1973 book How has the profession changed since you began teaching literature?
Dodds applied the psychological theories of the early 20th century to understanding Greek literature. Give us a précis of the theory of literary evolution you developed in that book. I gave it up because of the ambivalence I began to develop towards him.
If I live long enough, I may go back to the manuscript, which is yellowing up in the attic.Of all the books you’ve written, arguably made the boldest imprint on the common reader.I suppose it is true that, facing the decline of a literate audience and desperately trying to battle for canonical standards, my books that have had the widest direct impact were the ones that I addressed to “the common reader” – which was [Samuel] Johnson’s great designation of what a reader should be.I prefer Curtius on Dante to the discussion of Dante by any other critic, because he sees that Dante is creating a myth, or even a gnosis, of his own.Ultimately, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas are nowhere near as important as Dante.But at 81, one doesn’t know how much time there is, and there are other things I’m writing and want to write.The theory of literary evolution I developed (which is refined, broadened and made more understandable to the common reader in ) is that literary inheritance, literary genealogy – the cavalcade that takes us from one writer to another, throughout the ages right down to the present moment – is by no means linear. I use the Shakespearean term “misprision”, which is a kind of deliberate creativeness.It is an extraordinary study of the continuity of European literature, from Homer and the other Greeks, on through Virgil and the great Latin writers, to a culmination in Dante, and moving beyond to a consideration of a long tradition that concludes with Goethe.Curtius traces the evolution of language in Italy, in France and in Spain.I’m interested in the books that have influenced me and will go on influencing me – as I work and teach and write – until I die.Those books include , which still has an ongoing influence on me, particularly in my study of Yeats, Hart Crane and other great poets. I like to say, ‘There is no God but God and his name is William Shakespeare.’” was a concept, as Dodds makes beautifully clear, having to do with the creative forces in the individual, which are deeper and more pervasive than what you might want to call the mere conscious.