Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Harold Bloom is an Ass

I know this isn't news, but the depths of the man's arrogance and snobbery are distilled quite nicely in this week's Newsweek. In a new weekly feature in which a prominent author lists five great books, Bloom, in three quick moves, makes his pomposity and the weight of his ego clear to all:

1) Asked to make more "unusual choices" Bloom refuses, and lists as his first "mot important book" the complete works of Shakespeare. See, he's far too important to play by silly Newsweek's rules.

2) He, when asked about a book he cared most about sharing with his kids gave worthy respect to Lewis Carroll's Alice books, before saying "They will last forever, and the Harry Potter books are going to wind up in the rubbish bin. The first six volumes have sold, I am told, 350 million copies. I know of no larger indictment of the world's descent into subliteracy." First, I have no doubt that history will prove him utterly wrong. I suspect strongly that the Potter books will be read and cherished for many, many decades to come. Second, the contention that Rowling's novels are "subliterate" is cheap, elitist, and, most grossly unfair, flat-out wrong. Having read the Carroll and Potter books, I'd make the claim that Rowling, while falling short of some of their achievements (the sense of absurdism, the poetry) she easily eclipses them in other ways (the subtle shading of character, the ingenious plotting). Ass.

3) Asked to cite an important book he hasn't read, Bloom answers (seriously - go look yourself), cannot think of a major work I have not ingested." Well la-dee-da, Mr. Fancy Pants. Seriously, can you imagine a more arrogant way to answer that question? I can't.

Until Whenever


Roger Green said...

I was reading an old (Nov 2006?) EW, and Stephen King was commenting on Bloom's bashing of audioboooks as not reading. King totally disagreed. What do you think? (I seldom use 'em, so I really don't have a strong opinion.)

Tosy And Cosh said...

My response to Bloom would be to ask if he would ever consider discussing literature with a blind man - or if that would be impossible, since blind people lack the ability to read. I mean, if the act of "reading" is limited to visually scanning and decoding written text than neither audiobooks nore braille would count, no?