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Book Title: A Angústia da Influência: uma teoria da poesia|
The author of the book: Harold Bloom
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 13.79 MB
Date of issue: 2002
ISBN 13: 9788531208010
Read full description of the books A Angústia da Influência: uma teoria da poesia:Harold Bloom is an easy guy to dislike, and even easier to make fun of. Watching his interviews has become somewhat of a hobby of mine, and in them he often seems sullen and dismissive. He’s a portly bloke with bushy eyebrows and a weird accent from teaching himself English at the age of six. He also has a tendency to say that your favorite author or favorite book is utter garbage, and that really seems to piss people off, as if no one should ever have their taste challenged or have to formulate even to themselves why it is they like something.
I try not to focus on what he says he doesn’t like. It took me a while to come around though; he has said numerous times that Blood Meridian is Cormac’s only good book, causing me to be like “WTF?!” He’s notoriously bashed Steven King and JK Rowling. And he said of David Foster Wallace, “He can’t think. He can’t write. He has no discernable talent.” Ouch. Postmodern scholars everywhere found a new champion of their Hate when that interview was published. Nevermind that what he says about these authors is pretty much true, especially if you look at the work without emotion (hard to do and kind of antithetical to the reading process I know). The thing about Bloom is however, he has read so much (he claims to have once been able to read 1,000 pages an hour and remember everything, and I believe him) that his tolerance for clunky dialogue and cute epiphanies is less than zero. People tend to only see him for his negative comments – which is a dire shame because he speaks much more about the things he likes – so that he has become the caricature of The Old White Man. He’s actually Jewish… and he is one of the most outspoken critics of what most people don’t even realize is “Academia” today.
The most important thing I’ll take from The Anxiety of Influence is that Bloom has moved beyond reading literature in the framework of personal taste. He has a good quote about poems being like baseball teams, some like this one, others like that one, and their isn’t really any right or wrong in what a person likes. Bloom even reads in literature beyond what the author her/himself might have claimed it to be about which is at once a most controversial statement and raises his form of criticism to the level of philosophy. Fittingly, he quotes Nietzsche frequently throughout the book, even though you can tell he doesn’t particularly like F.W. Cuz that’s not the point! He sees something true even in authors he wouldn't “like” on FB, and that is something that is almost lost on a culture that reads strictly for entertainment.
So what does he say exactly? He says that a great poet is consumed with anxiety when it comes to their precursor poets/poems, because a truly great poet can’t stand the fact that someone said the same thing better and more completely before him. Thus, in order to subsume his influences, he must go through a process of deliberately misreading his precursor, dehumanizing himself, breaking down everything that made him a poet to begin with, re-finding his poetic spirit (or daemon), until eventually, maybe, he is strong enough to do battle with his long-dead great poet precursor, his primary influencer, his Great Original. In the rare instances where this occurs successfully, it is possible Bloom claims, for a dead poet to resemble a living one, as if the dead had been influenced by someone that isn’t even born yet. Wow. That is heavy, to me. This is a very quick synopsis, but it encapsulates a lot of what excites me about reading: the genealogies of influence, conversing with dead spirits, becoming friends with someone you could never ever meet.
Of course it is an Anxiety, and there were parts of the book where I almost forgot why anyone should read in the first place. Reading for entertainment and escape is not a bad thing at all in my opinion. Surely all of writing can’t be some humorless battle with dead guys, where the primary goal is to best the writers you love the most and whom have given you sublime levels of comfort and reassurance. It seems counterintuitive. Bloom would argue to this point that a writer doesn’t even need to be conscious of the Anxiety of Influence; he need not even know who his precursor(s) is/are. The idea that the ego is only one, and possibly a minor, player in this whole writing thing – which at its best is really divination… well, that is admittedly controversial, but powerful nonetheless.
These concepts are expounded here in a framework of Bloom’s devising that relies heavily on Freud (and I admit I have not read Freud) as well as Gnostic beliefs (of which I only have ideas), not to mention countless authors from all disciplines, eras, and styles, whom he namedrops usually without even using the full name, as if it were too obvious. Bloom is operating at the highest levels here, and why shouldn’t he? He is an American Shaman and his Spirit World is that of literature. He does cite examples along the way, but I could have used more. This I hope will be addressed in the spiritual sequels to this book, A Map of Misreading and Kabbalah and Criticism.
To read beyond taste expands one’s mind. I believe it will eventually have the result of expanding one’s taste. Bloom takes this to the nth degree here and has taken heat for it since its first publication. Culture needs controversy however. We need someone to challenge our beliefs at the highest level. You don’t have to buy the philosophy, but at the very least, Bloom’s love for books and preternatural ability to read them is worthy of respect.
Read information about the authorBloom is a literary critic, and currently a Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University. Since the publication of his first book in 1959, Bloom has written more than 20 books of literary criticism, several books discussing religion, and one novel. He has edited hundreds of anthologies.
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