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Book reviews for "Bloom,_Harold" sorted by average review score:

A Map of Misreading
Published in Paperback by Oxford University Press (April, 2003)
Author: Harold Bloom
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To the Dark Tower
After shaking up the academic world with his "theoretical" "Anxiety of Influence", Bloom begins to settle into what would prove his proper mode--the discursive literary essay. "A Map of Misreading" centers upon Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" (one of Bloom's touchstones for his theories) as the perfect example of the latecomer Romantic poet struggling against his precursors. It is Bloom's wonder and love of this poem that is on display here as much as "proof" of his theory.

What is most evident in all of Bloom's books, and what is most important, is an obvious passion for reading (reading anything and everything). Bloom ranges across British and American Poets to discover how poems struggle against other poems. But, frankly, what I've always come away from a Bloom book with is a map of Bloom's misreadings that are worth a college education in and of themselves. We discover Emerson afresh and hear of Dutch Psychologist J. H. Van Den Berg, discover we must encounter Hans Jonas on Gnosticism and The Kabbalah of Isaac Luria(if we're to know anything of the roots of literary struggling against the precursor) and wish we'd memorized Paradise Lost. In short, for me, he encourages continued and life-long (mis)reading.

Margaret Atwood (American Woman of Achievement)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (November, 1992)
Author: Harold Bloom
Amazon base price: $24.95
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A Good Supplement if You have Read Many Atwood Novels
This book was extremely helpful for another perspective on the Atwood novels. It is especially good for research if you happen to be writing a thematic paper on Atwood, like I was.

Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (April, 1999)
Authors: Nathaniel West, Harold Bloom, and William Golding
Amazon base price: $29.95
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Perfect nihilism
I haven't read the critical essays, only the novel itself and it is the best-crafted piece of nihilism I have read since Celine (and utterly different from him, as well).

Nathaniel Hawthorne's the Scarlet Letter: Bloom's Reviews Comprehensive Research & Study Guides (Bloom's Reviews)
Published in Paperback by Chelsea House Publishing (January, 1998)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Nathaniel Hawthorne
Amazon base price: $5.95
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Hawthorne's genius in one easy step.
This book provides helpful tips to high school students or collegiate beginners to American Literature

Sophocles' Oedipus Plays: Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, & Antigone (Bloom's Notes)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (June, 1996)
Author: Harold Bloom
Amazon base price: $22.95
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This book review was very helpful as a substitute for reading the book Sophocles. I was required to read the book but very pushed for time so this worked great for me! would really reccomend it!

William Faulkner (Bloom's Biocritiques)
Published in Hardcover by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (September, 2002)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Ellyn Sanna
Amazon base price: $25.95
Average review score:

An excellent source for students!
This book, Bloom's Short Story Writers edition on William Faulkner, was exactly what I had been looking for. I needed to write a paper comparing criticisms on one author, and this book was perfect. It contains several different critical essays centered around three of Faulkner's works, and the essays provide drastically different types of criticisms. Some are favorable, some are not, but all of them are well written, and excellent for anyone looking for a greater insight into the works of William Faulkner.

William Wordsworth (Bloom's Biocritiques)
Published in Hardcover by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (April, 2004)
Authors: Beth Beaudin and Harold Bloom
Amazon base price: $25.95
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William Wordsworth (Modern Critical Reviews)
It's a great source for looking at the many aspects of Wordsworth's poetry and philosophy. Bloom and company do a good job putting together authentic accounts of commentaries that get to the heart of his writings. For any one interested in Wordsworth, the Enlightenment, or The Age of Romanticism this is the book to have.

Robinson Crusoe (Major Literary Characters)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (June, 1994)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Daniel Defoe
Amazon base price: $35.95
Average review score:

Checked the box, now moving on...
Though I'm happy to say that I've read this book as a member of the English-literature canon, it has been a dry read. Inspired to approach it by the movie Castaway (Note however that the film is not based on the novel), I'm confronted by a overwhelming need for a modern interpretation of the stranded-isle genre.

Slow in action; ponderous with 18th century circuitious, flowery and repetitive prose; haphazardly concerned with supportive plot details -- it wasn't a long read, but about as enjoyable and juicy as a Mexican pastry.

I'd be surprised if this is still on school reading lists today considering it reflects an appauling stance on slavery and white supremacy (though true to the era). Furthermore, it openly espouses a fundamental, Calvinist theology that most school districts would altogether avoid.

Crusoe's spiritual journey is the sole theme of the book that addresses any sort of intellectual character development. Even though it grows distastful in some respects, expunge this topic from the novel and your left with a comic book. And if reduced to a characture, why wouldn't you opt for something like Stevenson's child-friendly Swiss Family Robinson? Something filled with adventure, intrigue, humor and drama?

To make this novel more enduring it would certainly have benefitted to analyze Crusoe's enduring lonliness and its effects on his psyche. Until the character Friday appears, Defoe barely mentions solitude even being an issue for Crusoe. Is not man a fundamentally social creature? Would there not be painful, enduring mental extirpations to work through?

Sigh...what else is there to say but it's a book to check off the list and move on.

An example of the English novel in its infancy
Robinson Crusoe is one of the first English novels. Written by Daniel DeFoe in the early 18th century during the rise of economic theory, this book chronicles the struggle of an economic hero shipwrecked on an island. He takes advantage of people, always looking to make money or increase economic value. Although Crusoe has religious experiences and gets preachy at times (DeFoe was of Puritan stock at a time when Puritanism was a significant force), Crusoe is a practical man. He does not let morals get in the way of carving out a prosperous life -- there are scenes where the main character is no role model. The novel is episodic, with Crusoe hopping from one scene to another. The narration isn't smooth. However, the "flaws" when compared to later writings may be forgiven because Robinson Crusoe is an early novel. Writers had not worked out the fine points of the genre. DeFoe is an important early English novelist who cobbled together economic theory, religious opinion, travel writing, and borrowed material from a contemporary shipwreck victim to create a work of fiction. Robinson Crusoe is often mislabelled as a childrens book. Perhaps in a watered down abridgement, it is a good children's book. The original, complete, unabridged work is a literary classic that should be read by any student of English literature.

Survival by Thinking and Doing
Robinson Crusoe is best taken at two levels, the literal adventure story of survival on an isolated island and as a metaphor for finding one's way through life. I recommend that everyone read the book who is willing to look at both of those levels. If you only want the adventure story, you may not be totally satisfied. The language, circumstances, and attitudes may put you off so that you would prefer to be reading a Western or Space-based adventure story with a more modern perspective.

Few books require anyone to rethink the availability and nature of the fundamentals of life: Water, food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment. Then having become solitary in our own minds as a reader, Defoe adds the extraordinary complication of providing a companion who is totally different from Crusoe. This provides the important opportunity to see Crusoe's civilized limitations compared to Friday's more natural ones. The comparisons will make for thought-provoking reading for those who are able to overcome the stalled thinking that the educated, civilized route is always the best.

One of the things that I specially liked about the book is the Crusoe is an ordinary person in many ways, making lots of mistakes, and having lots of setbacks. Put a modern Superhero (from either the comic books, adventure or spy novels, or the movies) into this situation, and it would all be solved in a few minutes with devices from the heel of one's shoe. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I liked the trial-and-error explorations. They seemed just like everyday life, and made the book's many lessons come home to me in a more fundamental way.

Have a good solitary trip through this book!

John Knowles's a Separate Peace (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (December, 1999)
Authors: Harold Bloom and John Knowles
Amazon base price: $37.95
Average review score:

A Separate Peace
A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a story about two best friends at the Devon Boarding School. The two boys Finny and Gene are also roommates. Finny is a very talented athlete, and Gene is a very good student. During the book Gene builds up jealousy inside and realizes he is really a savage underneath. On the other hand Finny is a very innocent and kind boy. It is summer at Devon, a very innocent world, away from the war and all the bad things in life. Gene begins to have epiphanies that Finny is trying to ruin his grades so that he can be a good athlete and Gene won't be good at anything. This builds up jealousy inside of Gene. That summer Finny starts the summer suicide society, where people jump off a tree limb into the pure water of the Devon River. One day they are making the jump together and are both standing on the tree limb when Gene jounces the limb, and Finny has a tragic fall onto the bank of the river where he breaks his leg. This ruins Finny's athletic career. Then Finny begins to train Gene for the Olympics that he won't be able to attend. The teachers are telling all of the boys they will soon have enlist in the army and go fight in the war. All of the boys are beginning to turn into men and lose their innocence. Finny is so innocent that he will not be able to survive the fall from innocence. Then Gene realizes that there is a potential for evil in the human heart and that's where his own evil and wars come from. When he goes off to war he really has nothing to fight for because he has realized his own evil and, he realizes where it comes from.
The book has good round characters that almost seem real. Finny is a round character. He is so innocent he is almost too good to be true. He also is very kind to everyone. Gene is also a round character. He has many characteristics and is much like a real person, for instance he has the potential for evil just like we all do but, he has a good side too. The theme of the book is the potential for evil in the human heart and soul.
There is a war motif throughout the story. The Devon River represents innocence and they are innocent when they jump into the Devon, the pure clean river. In the end Gene jumps into the Naguamsett River, the dirty river, this is like his fall from innocence. In the beginning Devon School is like the Garden of Eden before the fall from innocence, then when war hits the school it's not an innocent world anymore.
I liked the book however; I felt all the meanings could have been talked about a little more. I like the theme of the book. It really made you think about human nature and the potential for evil in the human heart and soul.

I read this book as a sophomore and I found it to be very sad. I found their relationship sad, because Finny had no idea how much Gene hated him. He wasn't a bad guy. He was just being himself. I hated this book because everything in it was depressing. I hoped that it would get better, but it didn't. I know that this is basically a classic, and I must admit the symbolism is intriguing, but I can't stand books like this.

Great to show awesome sybolism and darkness of youth
I read the book, "A Separate Peace", by John Knowles and it was pretty good. It involves two main boys going through high school during World War II. One of the boys, Phineas, is superior at everything that involves sports. The other main character is Gene Forrester. He is great at school but just okay in sports. These boys are roomed together in their prepatory school named Devon and they are best friends. Gene starts thinking Phineas, also known as Finny, is trying to hold back him from doing so well at school so Finny can be the best at everything. So Gene starts this hate for Finny and ends up creating this horrible accident that ruins Finny's life forever. In then end it shows that Finny never would have even dreamt of ruining Gene's life or try to decieve Gene. He will always be innocent. It shows that there is always some darkness lurking in the back of Gene's mind but never once has this darkness entered Finny's mind. Gene trys to go and tell Phineas the truth that he created the accident but Finny won't listen to him he can't believe that a person could ever do this to him. Another character in the book is Leper Lelliper that likes to find these great things in life but makes sure he takes his time and doesn't rush it. He decides to go look at a beaver dam then go and help the WWII soldiers out by shoveling snow from the tracks. The most amazing thing that Mr.Knowles did in this book was the sybolism of a tree and Finny. He says that the school, Devon, is like the Garden of Eden and the tree the boys jump out of for fun is like the Tree of Knowledge. (You should be thinking of the Bibles story of Original Sin with Adam and Eve.) And when Finny falls from the tree it is like mankind falling from innocences. And the mans fall from innocence is saved by one innocent life. WOW! I think this man is awesome for creating this sybolism so beautifully but he doesn't force it on you he makes you think. I would give this book to anyone.

Stephen Crane's the Red Badge of Courage (Bloom's Notes)
Published in Paperback by Chelsea House Publishing (June, 1996)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Stephen Crane
Amazon base price: $4.95
Average review score:

Red Badge...A book that will make you tear
The Red Badge of Courage by stephen Crane is one of the most spectacular books that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Throughout my life I have een completely anti-war. I didn't want war, I didn't want to read about it,...nothing. Over the summer I took the time to read Red Badge which was suggested to me by a few friends. I was blown away. Never have I received such a compelling impact from a book as from that novel. (I even cried with the characters.) The imagery that Crane creates is absolutely moving. You are not only put in the middle of the Civil Wat, but you become a part of the Union Army, fighting fot the unity of your country. A belief that you would die for. You will feel the anticipation of a soldier right before a battle, as well as the terriffying moral dilema of whether or not you should run away once being fired upon. Crane's characters, although having no direct names, pull you into their lives through their strong diolouge. He who reads this novel will learn so much about themselves, and human nature through just two pages of the wounded man's speech to Henry Fleming, the main character. Who knew that the simple imagery of a wound as a "Red Badge of Courage," would be able to move so many people? the Red Badge of Courge is simply a masterpiece. A book that will forever be capable of sharing the horror's of war to generations far into the future. I strongly recommend that you open your curiosity, heart, and mind, and read the Red Badge of Courage.

A great book about the Civil War...
The novel, THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE, is a book full of uncertainty. Means the reader is never sure what the main character is going to do next in the story. The reader never knows how anyone will act from one moment to the next. This gives the whole novel a certain suspense. The story is about a young enlisted soldier named Henry Fleming who goes off to war as a naive boy and returns as a man. It shows the true side of life, because Henry is acting like most young soldiers do in times of war; Henry feels guilty for running away as the battle began, but he just did what his heart told him to do. Stephan Crane wants to show the reader how bad war is, and the message he prevails is very knowledgeable. The whole story is very well written and the reader has no problem understanding what is going on. The book is rich in sensory details and poetic language. I believe, "The Red Badge", to be one of the most real accounts of Civil War I have read. I would say it is definitely one of the great pieces of American literature and I really have to give this book 5 stars for its perfection.
I just want to add that English isn't my first language and I didn't have any trouble reading this book.

Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage
Why is the Red Badge of Courage so hard to read until about the middle of the book? I think it's because Crane throws us into the world of fear in the first half - fear, cowardice, panic, the confusion and disorganization of war. We're not used to being treated like this, either by books or the real world. I can identify with Crane because the first half of my life was like that. It's OK to be afraid. You can even start reading from the middle and eventually go backwards if it's frustrating. As for life, at some point in life, if you really keep trying, fear gets tiresome and repetitive. You begin to despise yourself as a coward, and you only see images of cowardice around you. The uselessness of following the crowd and some of the fairy tales you learned hit you like a brick. You see too much destruction, whether in hot wars or cold wars, industry or the academic world. One day, when you have nothing left to lose, you try a new strategy called courage. You might feel a lot of anger when doing it, but you have to eventually learn to act out of calmness and yes, even love. You fight back because of the things and people you've lost. You become a Veteran, whether in war or in peace with illness like Crane himself. You learn that there are things more important than your own life. Then you're like Audie Murphy, Mahatma Gandhi, Stephen Crane, Galileo Galilei, Saint Thomas More. And the strangest thing of all is that they're right. There are things more important than your own life. One of them is called Courage.

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