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Department of one

Harold Bloom has little time for his fellow critics and academics, yet his own swan song reveals a resentful and solipsistic mind

By Jonathan Bate   June 2011

Harold Bloom identifies with Falstaff, but the character’s faults do not include being a bore

The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a way of life by Harold Bloom (Yale University Press, £25)

Harold Bloom made his name at Yale in the 1960s as an energetic and original reader of the “visionary company” of early 19th-century Romantic poets, notably Shelley and Blake. But it was with The Anxiety of Influence, published in 1973, that he began to make waves beyond his specialist field. That quirky little polemic had two great merits: a memorable title and a simple but provocative argument. According…

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