The daemon knows : literary greatness and the American sublime / Harold Bloom.

by Bloom, Harold [author.]Looking glass.

Publisher: Oxford, England : Oxford University Press, 2015.Edition: First edition.Description: xvi, 524 pages ; 22 cm.ISBN: 9780198753599; 0198753594.Other title: Literary greatness and the American sublime.Subject(s): American literature -- History and criticismLooking glass | Authors, American -- 20th century -- BiographyLooking glass | Authors, American -- 19th century -- BiographyLooking glass
Contents:
Walt Whitman and Herman Melville -- Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emily Dickinson -- Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James -- Mark Twain and Robert Frost -- Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot -- William Faulkner and Hart Crane.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index. Summary: This a definitive yet personal book on twelve American writers upon whose work Bloom believes the American canon is built. While his references to American writers are wide-ranging, he focuses on twelve: Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Mark Twain, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, and Hart Crane, those writers whose works make up what he calls the American sublime.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In The Daemon Knows, celebrated American literary critic Harold Bloom turns his attention to the writers of his own national literary tradition, from Walt Whitman and Herman Melville to William Faulkner and Hart Crane. The distillation of a lifetime lived among the works explored in these pages, this book is also one of Bloom's most profoundly personal to date.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Walt Whitman and Herman Melville -- Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emily Dickinson -- Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James -- Mark Twain and Robert Frost -- Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot -- William Faulkner and Hart Crane.

This a definitive yet personal book on twelve American writers upon whose work Bloom believes the American canon is built. While his references to American writers are wide-ranging, he focuses on twelve: Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Mark Twain, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, William Faulkner, and Hart Crane, those writers whose works make up what he calls the American sublime.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In his 36th book, Bloom (humanities, Yale Univ.; The Shadow of a Great Rock) returns to his early championship of the romantics, putting it in the context of the sweep of America's history. He argues, sometimes persuasively, other times overzealously, that writers don't emerge clear of influence: they borrow and deliberately misread the works of their predecessors. The influence may be buried, but it's there-just read the text closely, and Bloom is nothing if not a close reader. This book, at times perceptive, at others slapdash, argues that the great writers, possessed by their creative daemon, strive to achieve the American sublime, a truth of feeling and will that lies behind the mask. They experience epiphany not through God's grace but as new Adams, innocents in a new country. Bloom discusses his writers in pairs: Walt Whitman and -Herman Melville; Ralph Waldo Emerson and -Emily Dickinson; Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James; Mark Twain and -Robert Frost; Wallace Stevens and T. S. -Eliot; -William Faulkner and Hart Crane. The best readings are of Melville and Whitman, Emerson and Hawthorne, and Frost. Interestingly, his appreciation of Crane, his self-confessed favorite among poets, reads like afterthought. Bloom calls himself "an experiential and personalizing literary critic." It's an apt characterization that points both to his strengths and his weaknesses. VERDICT Bloom is the real thing so lots of people will read this book. But it's a perplexing mix of perceptive and self-indulgent. [See Prepub Alert, 11/3/14.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Literary critic and Yale professor Bloom (The Anxiety of Influence), a distinctive, contentious voice in American letters for decades, offers a massive, discursive survey of six pairs of eminent American authors: Walt Whitman and Herman Melville, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James, Mark Twain and Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot, and William Faulkner and Hart Crane. Bloom defines "the daemonic impulse" as transcending the human world "in feeling and in speech," and, except in Eliot's writing, achieving the sublime in the absence of God and Christianity. In this personal book, which is in many ways a memoir, Bloom at 84 still relishes settling scores and dropping names. Most of the book reads like a lovefest with old canonical friends. Bloom is on a first-name basis with "Walt." Eliot "brings out the worst in me," Bloom admits, judging him a "virulent" anti-Semite. He concludes his panoramic study with a long, adoring, and obscure tribute to Crane. What Bloom's instructive, entertaining abracadabra adds up to is uncertain. Many serious readers will thrill to his energetic take on post-Christian transcendence, American-style. Others will find his themes so broad and protean as to be baffling. Agent: Glen Hartley and Lyn Chu, Writers' Representatives. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Harold Bloom was born on July 11, 1930 in New York City. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell in 1951 and his Doctorate from Yale in 1955.

After graduating from Yale, Bloom remained there as a teacher, and was made Sterling Professor of Humanities in 1983. Bloom's theories have changed the way that critics think of literary tradition and has also focused his attentions on history and the Bible. He has written over twenty books and edited countless others. He is one of the most famous critics in the world and considered an expert in many fields. In 2010 he became a founding patron of Ralston College, a new institution in Savannah, Georgia, that focuses on primary texts.

His works include Fallen Angels, Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems, Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life and The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of The King James Bible.

Harold Bloom passed away on October 14, 2019 in New Haven, at the age of 89.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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