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The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages

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Language  English
Publisher  Harcourt Brace
Pages  578
Author  Harold Bloom
Genre  Literary criticism
3.9/5 Goodreads

Subject  Literature
Publication date  1994
Originally published  1994
Page count  578
The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages t3gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcRi831MDpFXNFIT
Media type  Print (hardcover and paperback)
Nominations  National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism
Similar  Harold Bloom books, Literary criticism books, Other books

The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages is a 1994 book by Harold Bloom on Western literature, in which he defends the concept of the Western canon by discussing 26 writers whom he sees as central to the canon. The Western Canon is Bloom's best-known book alongside The Anxiety of Influence, and was a surprise bestseller upon its release in the United States.

Contents

Summary

Bloom defends the concept of the Western canon by discussing 26 writers whom he sees as central to the canon:

Bloom argues against what he calls the "School of Resentment", which includes feminist literary criticism, Marxist literary criticism, Lacanians, New Historicism, Deconstructionists, and semioticians. The Western Canon includes four appendices listing works that Bloom at the time considered canonical, stretching from earliest scriptures to Tony Kushner's Angels in America. Bloom would later disown the list, saying that it was written at his editor's insistence and distracted from the book's intention.

Reception

Norman Fruman wrote that "The Western Canon is a heroically brave, formidably learned and often unbearably sad response to the present state of the humanities".

A. S. Byatt wrote:

Bloom's canon is in many ways mine. It consists of those writers all other writers have to know and by whom they measure themselves. A culture's canon is an evolving consensus of individual canons. Canonical writers changed the medium, the language they were working in. People who merely describe what is happening now don't last. Mine includes writers I don't necessarily like. D.H. Lawrence, though I hate him in a way, Jane Austen, too.

References

The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages Wikipedia


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