Ruin the Sacred Truths (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
This short, challenging book is the text of Harold Bloom’s Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University for the 1987-1988 academic year. To understand it, some awareness of Bloom’s principal concepts argued in his fifteen-or-so previously published works is required.
Harold Bloom received his B.A. degree from Cornell University in 1951 and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1955; he has taught at the latter since that time, attaining the Sterling Professorship of the Humanities. He is commonly regarded as a leading luminary of the most distinguished university English department in the United States, and indeed as one of the most original and challenging literary theorists in the English- speaking world.
In the 1950’s, when Bloom began writing, American criticism was dominated by such New Critics as Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, and William K. Wimsatt, who shared a formalist approach to the literary work as an artifact whose structure of meanings was fully explicable within its language, with no reference required to the author’s biography or the social conditions of the text’s time. This view of literature tended to prefer Metaphysical poetry and modernist writing to Romantic works—a scale of values challenged by Bloom.
Bloom’s first three books, Shelley’s Mythmaking (1959), The Visionary Company (1962, 1971), and Blake’s Apocalypse (1963), emphasize the...
(The entire section is 1747 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
Booklist. LXXXV, April 15, 1989, p. 1423.
Choice. XXVI, July, 1989, p. 1830.
Kirkus Reviews. LVI, December 1, 1988, p. 1712.
Library Journal. CXIV, January, 1989, p. 85.
National Catholic Reporter. XXV, May 12, 1989, p. 28.
The New Leader. LXXII, April 3, 1989, p. 16.
The New York Review of Books. XXXVI, March 2, 1989, p. 22.
The New York Times Book Review. XCIV, February 26, 1989, p. 18.
Washington Times. January 2, 1989, p. E7.
(The entire section is 53 words.)