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

Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (Bloom's Notes)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (June, 1996)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Fyodor M. Dostoevsky
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Crime and Punishment
This is one book that I would not recommend to anyone. The author had so many character and so much detail that I could not even get past page 55. All the characters in the book seem to have nothing to do with each other and it got to the point that I did not even want to try to read the book anymore.

Good story, but too damn long.
That's about it. Steinbeck could have cranked this story out in about twenty pages. It's just too loooooooooong for what you get out of it.

Crime and Punishment
A truly remarkable work, as Dostoevsky investigates different political and social systems through the main character during a contensious time in Russia

Charles Dickens' a Tale of Two Cities: Bloom's Reviews
Published in Paperback by Chelsea House Publishing (October, 1997)
Authors: Harold Bloom and Charles Dickens
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I had to read this dumb book for english class. It was the hardest book to understand. The use of volcabulary was astounding. He couldnt just state something, Dickens had to go and use every word in his volcabulary. It has soooooo many word that you get lost. I read the chapters over and over and never understood them. The next day my teacher would tell us what the chapters were about. Only then did i understand the book. BEWARE THIS BOOK WILL FRY YOUR BRAIN BEFORE YOU UNDERSTAND IT.

Dickens wrote a great story in this book, the only problem he had was he explained the parts in a little bit too much detail. The cliff notes would be a big help in reading this great story.

Ray Bradbury (Modern Critical Views)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (January, 2001)
Author: Harold Bloom
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Narrow focus, remarkably little insight
From Harold Bloom's Modern Critical Views series, this book collects
critical essays discussing one of America's most unique storytellers,
sci-fi/fantasy writer Ray Bradbury. Although one applauds Bloom's acumen in
choosing Bradbury as a subject worthy of elucidation, the actual essays
selected are really rather disappointing. Perhaps the fault lies not with
the editor (whose bona fides are so widely recognized), but with a general
dearth of meritorious criticism regarding an author who works principally in
the literary ghetto that is known as 'genre' fiction. Most of the scholars
represented here have picked up some specific quality that seems noteworthy
in a few of his works, and have explicated this quality in some detail, but
none seem able to view the man's work as a whole, or evaluate its overall
import. Perhaps closest is William F. Touponce's cryptic essay "The
Existential Fabulous: A Reading of Ray Bradbury's 'The Golden Apples of the
Sun'", but his 'oneiric' approach is aimed at the serious scholar, not the
casual reader. More commonplace are Diskin's "Bradbury on Children", and
Hazel Pierce's "Ray Bradbury and the Gothic Tradition", with emphasis on the
horror genre, and the pieces by Wayne Johnson and Gary Wolfe, which focus
more on the famous sci-fi collection The Martian Chronicles. It is typical
of the narrow focus of this volume that only Kevin Hoskinson's fascinating
political study "Ray Bradbury's Cold War Novels" does more than mention the
master's finest novel, Fahrenheit 451. This reviewer would much rather have
seen some in-depth analysis of Bradbury's style (which is surely one of his
strong points), and more attention given to his many short stories, which
are certainly superior to most of his novels. Inquisitive readers who come
to this book wondering why this fine, but often overlooked writer is deemed
worthy of criticism at all will come away knowing little more than they came

in with.

Ray Bradbury fan
My all time favorite book has been Martin Chronicles, so this is a very great surprise for me, to read several essays from different experts. And learn more about such classic.

And it doesn't end there, they analyze more of his stories. I don't know if Mr. Bradbury will agree on this book, but it did enlight me.

Song of Myself (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (December, 2002)
Authors: Harold Bloom, Janyce Marson, and Walt Whitman
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Nothing more than a weak, melodramatic... Marxism
The poem, "Song of Myself", by Walt Whitman is heavily laced with Marxism. In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx called for the abolition of private property. In doing so, Marx hoped to eliminate the selfish nature of capitalism, which he believed caused people to become greedy. By setting up a communal system, society could rid itself of material competition. Whitman too illustrates this principle in the poem by stating, "Every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you."
Marx also reacted against the social and religious morals prevalent in society, Whitman agrees by affirming, "No standard above men and women, or apart from them. No more modest than immodest" as well as, "If I worship one thing more than another, it shall be the spread of my own body, or any part of it." Both of these men contribute to the belief that people sin only as a result of standards placed upon them from external factors. If society were to eliminate these factors such as morality and religion, the "naturally good" person would have no reason to sin.
The most important belief that Marx adhered to was a future revolution in which the oppressed overthrow their oppressors. Whitman labels the oppressed "forbidden voices" and states that "Through me forbidden voices; Voice of sexes and lusts-voices veil'd, and I remove the veil." By removing the blinding veil, the oppressed can see their oppression and revolt against oppressors.

It's Whitman . . . wait, it's Mitchell . . . no, it's both
As with so much of Stephen Mitchell's work, the most important thing is to know what it is before you buy it. It may be exactly what you want, or it may be just the opposite; there's usually not much room in between.

In the present case, Mitchell has done something that some readers might consider pretty hubristic and perhaps even sacrilegious: he has produced an edited version of Walt Whitman's great "Song of Myself" that corresponds to no published version whatsoever.

How? Well, he started with the original (1855) edition of the poem, and then considered _every single change_ Whitman ever made in the poem clear up to his death in 1892. If Mitchell thought the change improved the poem, he left it in; if not, not. The result, for obvious reasons, is a "Song of Myself" that Whitman himself never actually wrote.

That's _not_ necessarily a bad thing. I respect Mitchell's taste and judgment, and I happen to agree with him that some of Whitman's later alterations made the poem worse. In fact I think Mitchell's edition is extremely fine.

But some readers may be looking for a version of "Song of Myself" that reflects Whitman's taste and judgment rather than Mitchell's. So let the buyer be aware.

At any rate I share Mitchell's high estimation of this poem and I'm happy that he's published his edition of it. Whitman belongs with Emerson and Thoreau on a shortlist of great American sages; this single poem is a large part of the reason why.

Atlantic Poets: Fernando Pessoas Turn in Anglo-American Modernism (Re-Encounters With Colonialism)
Published in Paperback by Dartmouth College (December, 2002)
Authors: Maria Irene Ramalho Sousa Santos, Irene Ramalho Santos, and Harold Bloom
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a bridge for ivory towers not white castles
Perhaps the towering anticipation and immense joy experienced while purchasing a book on two powerful poets, Pessoa and Crane, caused me to endure a let down of sorts while reading it. The discussion of the poets together as well as the discussion of their individual poems proved sharp. But, the author has spent much effort, too much to my liking, trying to situate the discussion of all of Pessoa and Crane as well as the methods of comparison and analysis among the diverse ridges and plurality of valleys of literary and cultural criticism.

The book is useful to be sure, but there is so much to be ignored as an excrescent carapace willing itself rather unnecessisarily to the bodies of poets who not only lived without it, but also employed far more piercing modes of definition and discussion in their own works.

It is possible that other readers also will find these chapters try hard to justify themselves. No justification was necessary. These poets share a remarkable amount with respect to their attitudes, efforts, and poetic forms. The author is perceptive and had the opportunity to write a stunning appreciation of an Atlantic bound by the poems of Pessoa and Crane. The author chose instead to define a literary category (Anglo-American Modernism) and write just as much for a diverse camp of literary theorists as for Pessoa and Crane loyalists. I feel an opportunity has been missed, other readers may not share this sentiment considering some of the book's bright analyses.

British Women Fiction Writers, 1900-1960 (Vol 2) (Women Writers of English and Their Works) (Cloth)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (December, 1997)
Author: Harold Bloom
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No brilliance here
I can't imagine why anyone who cares about Women's writing would wish to bother with a book edited by Harold Bloom, a woman-fearer if not actually a woman-hater. He just doesn't get it. If you want to read a GOOD critic on Women's writing from Britain in the modern period, go to Jane Marcus, a brave and brilliant feminist critic, a writer that white males fear!

Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (Modern Critical Interpretations)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (November, 1987)
Authors: Daniel Defoe, Harold Bloom, and William Golding
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Unhurriedly Pragmatic Adventure Story
In the literary world it is perhaps blasphemy to say a bad word against Daniel Defoe's most acclaimed novel. So here goes. The fact that the book was originally titled The Life And Strange Surprising Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe illustrates the major flaw in Defoe's literary form. Put simply, this would be a far more interesting and gripping story were it not so superfluously lengthy. The author makes a habit of repeating himself, especially when it comes to the act of dispatching kittens, which seems to be more of an obsession here than octogenarian ladies are to MatronsApron. It is difficult, you may think, to keep the subject matter fresh when describing the daily tribulations of a fellow stranded on an island for thirty years, without occasionally repeating yourself. True, but perhaps a straightforward solution to this diminutive quandary would be to simply truncate the duration of the story. There are some wonderfully intriguing and suspenseful moments, and some juicy action to boot, but sadly these are gratuitously diluted by lengthy descriptions of the unremarkable everyday goings on in Crusoe's life, and rather than serving to build up the suspense, they merely obstruct the reader's relationship with the more exciting parts of the story.
However, those with more patience than my ignorant self will find in Robinson Crusoe a delightful tale, which as well as being a fictional documentary of the most unusual thirty years of Mr. Crusoe's life, also has time to ponder upon philosophical and theological ideas, in a style that makes the reader feel as if they are involved in the conflicts between the functionalist and cynical thoughts going on in Crusoe's mind. It may not be a gripping white-knuckle adventure, being rather more leisurely and acquiescent, but it is still rather easy to see why Robinson Crusoe is regarded by some as one of the greatest novels of all time.

Francois and Jean Claude Duvalier (World Leaders Past & Present)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (February, 1989)
Authors: Erin Condit, Harold Bloom, and William Golding
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A Good Effort in Covering Duvalierism
Upon reading this book, I was impressed and, at the same time, disenchanted. The author painted an interesting, easy-to-follow portrait of the two leaders. However, the book was too short to expound upon the material sufficiently. There was a definite lack of details, especially pertaining to the causes and effects of the Duvaliers' power. I will credit the book with giving a good overview of the two men, though it seems to concentrate mainly on the elder "Papa Doc". Overall, it is best suited for a reader with little or no knowledge of the Duvalier regime.

Kate Chopin (Modern Critical Views)
Published in Library Binding by Chelsea House Pub (Library) (February, 1987)
Authors: Harold Bloom and William Golding
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This book of modern critical views provided thought-provoking insight to many, in fact nearly all, of Chopin's literary works, including her many short stories and two novels, the most critically acclaimed being The Awakening. The book helped me to look at Chopin's work with more respect and a totally new perspective and understanding. However, since I have not read all of Chopin's works, some of the analyses were difficult to comprehend, seeing as I had no background for assimulating the information into something coherent. All in all, the novel is a worthwhile read if one is interested in the wonderful works of Kate Chopin.

Poetics of Influence
Published in Hardcover by Henry R Schwab (December, 1988)
Authors: Harold Bloom and John Hollander
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Hello Sigmund
This is difficult reading. Bloom covers a lot of ground, ranging from Freud (a major subject) to the Kabbalah to Romantic poetry to Nietzsche to Heidegger to Hegel to Poe to Browning to Homer to Yeats to linguistics. He is concerned with misprision, crossings, precursors, psychoanalysis, the Hebrew and Christian bibles and other religious writings, just to name a few subjects. He does not hesitate to let the reader know when he does not agree with other critics (and this is often). Not recommended for anyone who is not a serious academician.

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