Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Goodis...

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 28 Feb 2009

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Goodis..."


    You're attacking what you perceive to be the centrality of Bloom's teaching while in the same breath, saying that you're not commenting on his work as a teacher and critic.

    I also find the notion that he is "Anglo-Centric" laughable.

    How much of his stuff have you read? The guy wrote one entire book dedicated to a lauditory treatment of the "J" writer from the Old Testament. He raves about such non-English writers as Borges and magical realists like Marques and then turns around and singles out Stendal, Dostoevsky, Calvino and a host of others who didn't write in English for high praise.

    True, he thinks Shakespeare and Jane Austen were the two greatest writers ever, but so what? He's got company there, including myself. I like Jim Thompson's work a lot, but if you want to talk about a genius level work of individual character studies and a further vision of what happens when these full-bodied characters interact, THE KILLER INSIDE ME has nothing on PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.

    Again agreed that he's a snob and that many of his ideas are so old-fashioned as to define hide-bound. He's a terrific writer who expresses himself better than most fictions writers I've read. I've learned a ton from his work, even the notions that I reject have spoken to me. Now that's a powerful experience.

    And while it's true that one need not read a word of Shakespeare to lead a nice life, I can't help but think that to go through without the experience would be something akin to going through life colorblind: to be the poorer for want of the ability to see in the full spectrum of color.

    All the Best-


    On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 11:11 PM, jacquesdebierue <
    > wrote:

    > Re Bloom, I was referring to his pushing the Great Books idea. I did
    > not comment on his work as a teacher and critic. One problem is that
    > he is Anglo-Centric. A huge problem. People can survive fine without
    > ever reading a line of Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare, but
    > objectively, what's preordained about it? That idea, a Platonic idea
    > really, that there is some kind of constellation of authors who are
    > above everybody else _and_ therefore mandatory, strikes me as
    > unfounded and unsuitable for picking what to teach students. Great
    > Literature as mandatory laxative doesn't strike me as good classroom
    > policy. Then the kids hang on to their Cliff Notes like crazy... I bet
    > they wouldn't need any Cliff Notes for The Killer Inside Me. It's a
    > much cooler read, a kid can make a good attempt at commenting on it,
    > and it's certainly not remote.
    > The Bloom dogma is about badges, about an illusion of class, it is
    > pure snobbery.
    > Best,
    > mrt

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