By Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom explores our Western literary culture by means of targeting the works of twenty-six authors relevant to the Canon. He argues opposed to ideology in literary feedback; he laments the lack of highbrow and aesthetic criteria; he deplores multiculturalism, Marxism, feminism, neoconservatism, Afrocentrism, and the recent Historicism. Insisting as an alternative upon "the autonomy of the cultured, " Bloom areas Shakespeare on the heart of the Western Canon. Shakespeare has develop into the touchstone for all writers who come earlier than and after him, no matter if playwrights poets or storytellers. within the production of personality, Bloom keeps, Shakespeare has no real precursor and has left nobody after him untouched. Milton, Samuel Johnson, Goethe, Ibsen, Joyce, and Beckett have been all indebted to him; Tolstoy and Freud rebelled opposed to him; and Dante, Wordsworth, Austen, Dickens, Whitman, Dickinson, Proust, the fashionable Hispanic and Portuguese writers Borges, Neruda, and Pessoa are beautiful examples of ways canonical writing is born of an originality fused with culture. Bloom concludes this provocative, trenchant paintings with an entire record of crucial writers and books - his imaginative and prescient of the Canon.
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Extra resources for The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages
Surrounded by these creative men, the woman is an outsider, excluded from their shared masculinity, struggling to understand both their language and their culture. In one drafted paragraph, Porter describes in detail the woman’s determination to acquire their knowledge: “She feared them a little: their solidarity of interest, of race, of sex. They were familiars to one another, but mysterious to her. . She was unread, inexperienced in ideas. . Their derived theories came to her as from a clear fountain of original thought.
17 “The Shattered Star” carefully contrasts Nayagta’s home culture with that of the Moon-demons. The Eskimos fear change and the unknown. They live secure, repeating ancient patterns, loving “the blue ice and the heavy sea, and the slow-moving bergs. . They sleep warmly in huts of ice, and cook their food of ﬁsh and oil” (14–15). The simplicity and security of repetition shape their muted creativity. Nayagta’s mother comforts her with a song, but it is “the same song always, that had only three notes in it” (13).
In Porter’s version powerful women abound: an “old woman made the match” and a “Fairy Queen” steals the young man from his betrothed. Porter names her princess and prince, Saila and Tasar, respectively, and, as in “The Faithful Princess,” makes her heroine both able and decisive. The original unnamed princess wanders about weeping “day and night” in “anxious search” after her husband is abducted, and ﬁnds him only when an old man shows her the way. Saila, by contrast, pursues his abductors immediately and, after awakening him from a spell and learning he is under the magic powers of the Fairy Queen, briskly and optimistically resolves, “Then I will learn magic.
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages by Harold Bloom