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It is a long and fascinating itinerary, and one littered with thousands of sharp insights. Listen to Bloom on Romeo and Juliet: "The Nurse and Mercutio, both of them audience favorites, are nevertheless bad news, in different but complementary ways." On The Merchant of Venice: "To reduce him to contemporary theatrical terms, Shylock would be an Arthur Miller protagonist displaced into a Cole Porter musical, Willy Loman wandering about in Kiss Me Kate." On As You Like It: "Rosalind is unique in Shakespeare, perhaps indeed in Western drama, because it is so difficult to achieve a perspective upon her that she herself does not anticipate and share." Bloom even offers some belated vocational counseling to Falstaff, identifying him as an Elizabethan Mr. Chips: "Falstaff is more than skeptical, but he is too much of a teacher (his true vocation, more than highwayman) to follow skepticism out to its nihilistic borders, as Hamlet does."
In the end, it doesn't matter very much whether we agree with all or any of these ideas. What does matter is that Bloom's capacious book sends us hurrying back to some of the central texts of our civilization. "The ultimate use of Shakespeare," the author asserts, "is to let him teach you to think too well, to whatever truth you can sustain without perishing." Bloom himself has made excellent use of his hero's instruction, and now he teaches us all to do the same. --Daniel Hintzsche --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
When I first opened the book, I said no, he (and Shakespeare) are just too elevated for me, and I just don't get it.
His thesis - that Shakespeare "invented the human" - is a stretch but agreeing with it is not essential to appreciating the book.
I've read all of Shakespeare's plays and many sonnets.... and I'm going to make this quite simple: I LOVE HAROLD BLOOM!!!!
When I got halfway through this tome, I realized I was reading earmarks of early senile dementia. Rambling repetition: Falstaff as a demigod on almost every page. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A Customer
Essential reading for anyone who loves Shakespeare and literature in general. Brilliant as Bloom always is.Published 3 months ago by Jane D
Bloom is erudite to a fault. His pieces struck me as scholarly but a bit on the windy side. He doesn't seem as though he would be a lot of fun at parties.Published 4 months ago by A. Levine
I already had a copy but had used it so much I had worn it out. This one is perfect!Published 5 months ago by V. Roberts
I just love Bloom. It's as if he was Shakespeare in a past life and remembers everything. He has such a unique understanding of Shakespeare. I want to be Bloom when I grow up.Published 7 months ago by LA
Tony Daley, Novelist, Scripter, Poet, Short Story Writer Weighs In: The idea of art is to enrich, expand, and enlighten while performing that most difficult of functions, to... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Tony Daley
Before seeing any Shakespeare play, I always try to re-read Harold Bloom's remarks on it in this book. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jinx