Inventing the human: Brontosaurus Bloom and the Shakespeare in us

Wright, L.S. (2008) Inventing the human: Brontosaurus Bloom and the Shakespeare in us. In: The Shakespearean International Yearbook. Volume 8: Special section, European Shakespeares. Ashgate, Aldershot, pp. 238-260. ISBN 978-0-7546-6572-4

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Abstract

This essay was occasioned by the casual reading of a book called Harold Bloom’s Shakespeare (2002), a collection of responses, pro, ante and puzzled, to Bloom’s Shakespearean magnum opus. The more I browsed in the assembled essays, some of them originally reviews and conference papers, others specially commissioned responses, the more curious I became. On the whole, the contributors seemed not to understand Bloom, at least not to understand him adequately, which is a devastating handicap when the task in hand is to pass judgment. The problem seems to be that few academic commentators take Bloom seriously, accepting that he means what he says; more accurately, they find it hard to entertain with full seriousness matters Bloom intends should be taken entirely seriously. Shakespeareans, locked into their various ways of understanding the world and critical activity, generally try to find Shakespeare (or “Shakespeare”) through reading Bloom, whereas he wants us to find ourselves through reading Shakespeare: to uncover what Emerson called ‘the Shakespeare in us’ (‘Shakespeare, or The Poet’, 256). The difference is stupendous. We ought first to ask in regard to Bloom’s blockbuster the question Bloom tells us he learned from Kenneth Burke, ‘What is the author trying to do for himself or herself by writing this work?’ (Shakespeare, 412).

Item Type:Book Section
Additional Information:Details of the definitive version are available at: http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9780754665724
Uncontrolled Keywords:Harold Bloom; A.C. Bradley; Kenneth Burke; character criticism; Emerson; Stephen Greenblatt; L.C. Knights; Harold Bloom's Shakespeare (2002); Blombos Cave; inventing the human
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1207
Deposited By: Prof Laurence Wright
Deposited On:16 Oct 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:20
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