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The Western Canon by Harold Bloom
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The Western Canon

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The Western Canon by Harold Bloom
Paperback $20.00
Sep 01, 1995 | ISBN 9781573225144

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  • Sep 01, 1995 | ISBN 9781573225144

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“Heroically brave, formidably learned… The Western Canon is a passionate demonstration of why some writers have triumphantly escaped the oblivion in which time buries almost all human effort. It inspires hope… that what humanity has long cherished, posterity will also.” –The New York Times Book Review

“This book is terribly important — if you believe that literature itself is important, quite noble — if you believe that ‘nobility’ is still a viable concept in intellectual life.” —The Boston Globe

“Harold Bloom’s large-minded and large-hearted book about the great books has many of the virtues that it sees and shows in the works he so fiercely admires.” –Christopher Ricks, The Washington Times

“The list… is what will get all the attention, but it is the text preceding that provides the true pleasure.” –Entertainment Weekly

“[Harold Bloom] has, in a quietly joyous fashion, the chutzpah to put his stamp on the whole of literature from Genesis to Ashbery, rivaling the scope of hero-critics like Sainsbury or Curtius or Auerbach though more giddily adventurous than they were… In one sense the hero of this book, as of all his books, is Bloom himself, modestly bold, genially polemical, dogmatically opposed to dogma, carrying to much in his head and always ready to say what he thinks about it all.” –Frank Kermode, The London Review of Books

Table Of Contents

Preface and Prelude

I. On the Canon
1. An Elegy for the Canon

II. The Aristocratic Age
2. Shakespeare, Center of the Canon
3. The Strangeness of Dante: Ulysses and Beatrice
4. Chaucer: The Wife of Bath, the Pardoner, and Shakespearean Character
5. Cervantes: The Play of the World
6. Montaigne and Molière: The Canonical Elusiveness of the Truth
7. Milton’s Satan and Shakespeare
8. Dr. Samuel Johnson, the Canonical Critic
9. Goethe’s Faust, Part Two: The Countercanonical Poem

III. The Democratic Age
10. Canonical Memory in Early Wordsworth and Jane Austen’s Persuasion
11. Walt Whitman as Center of the American Canon
12. Emily Dickinson: Blanks, Transports, the Dark
13. The Canonical Novel: Dickens’s Bleak House, George Eliot’s Middlemarch
14. Tolstoy and Heroism
15. Ibsen: Trolls and Peer Gynt

IV. The Chaotic Age
16. Freud: A Shakespearian Reading
17. Proust: The True Persuasion of Sexual Jealousy
18. Joyce’s Agon with Shakespeare
19. Woolf’s Orlando: Feminism as the Love of Reading
20. Kafka: Canonical Patience and “Indestructability”
21. Borges, Neruda, and Pessoa: Hispanic-Portuguese Whitman
22. Beckett…Joyce…Proust…Shakespeare

V. Cataloging the Canon
23. Elegiac Conclusion

A. The Theocratic Age
B. The Aristocratic Age
C. The Democratic Age
D. The Chaotic Age: A Canonical Prophecy

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