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

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 28 Feb 2009

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

    On Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 11:51 PM, jacquesdebierue <
    > wrote:

    > --- In <>,
    > Brian Thornton
    > <bthorntonwriter@...> wrote:
    > >
    > > Mario-
    > >
    > > 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 was referring to his influence on curricula. His teaching is between
    > him and his students. I understand that the students were quite
    > satisfied for many years. His specific writings on literature I am
    > putting aside because they are not the point, I think. It's natural
    > that he wrote about what he liked. All critics do that.

    The two are bound together. Especially with a lightning rod such as Bloom. It's easy to beat up on the guy for his ideas (and unfortunately it's something of an on-again off-again pastime on this list), but just as Jim Doherty thinks it's wrong to dismiss Spillane as a hack, so do I think it's facile to dismiss Bloom.

    > > I also find the notion that he is "Anglo-Centric" laughable.
    > >
    > To me, it's quite obvious in his writings.

    On that we disagree completely. And this is of course completely subjective.

    > > 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?
    > So what? It's a pretty strange notion. Especially Austen.

    Strange or not it's certainly a defensible one.

    > 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
    > >
    > > 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.
    > Of course you can learn a lot from him. That's not under discussion.

    It's absolutely under discussion. In fact, it's the entire point of the discussion.

    > >
    > > 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.
    > >
    > Consider this: Shakespeare was literally an accident (as we all are).
    > The world would have the same colors without him. You would revere
    > some other writer. Life is not defined by writers... it's not defined
    > by anybody, it just is.

    And this is just an email discussion list and this conversation is just an exercise in reductio ad absurdum, and so this thread is now complete.


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