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Download The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Harold Bloom
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (19 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Harold Bloom Narrator: James Armstrong Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2000 ISBN:
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Harold Bloom explores our Western literary tradition by concentrating on the works of twenty-six authors central to the Canon. He argues against ideology in literary criticism; he laments the loss of intellectual and aesthetic standards; he deplores multiculturalism, Marxism, feminism, neoconservatism, Afrocentrism, and the New Historicism.
Insisting instead upon the autonomy of aesthetic, Bloom places Shakespeare at the center of the Western Canon. Shakespeare has become the touchstone for all writers who come before and after him, whether playwrights, poets, or storytellers. In the creation of character, Bloom maintains, Shakespeare has no true precursor and has left no one after him untouched. Milton, Samuel Johnson, Goethe, Ibsen, Joyce, and Beckett were all indebted to him; Tolstoy and Freud rebelled against him; and while Dante, Wordsworth, Austen, Dickens, Whitman, Dickinson, Proust, and the modern Hispanic and Portuguese writers Borges, Neruda, and Pessoa are exquisite examples of how canonical writing is born of an originality fused with tradition.

Listen to a conversation with Harold Bloom. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 1/31/2014

    " One of the most useful works of non-fiction to be published in recent decades, written by the sturdy Yale professor Harold Bloom. Camille Paglia said that this work was as much about Bloom himself as it was about the "best that has been written"(one of many phrases that Bloom is quite of fond of using again and again), and this is certainty true, as the irascible scholar's personality comes through in every supple sentence. If there is a flaw in Bloom's work, it is repetition, as the reader is bombarded with constant statements on the School of Resentment, Shakespeare's unsurpassed Canonical centrality, and so on. However, Bloom makes a compelling case for all of the central arguments of the book: that Feminism, New Criticism and their ilk have destroyed the Humanities and aesthetic appreciation, that Shakespeare is the greatest and most unavoidable of all writers, and that the importance of the Canon is so great that if we let it be destroyed we could descend into Vico's Theocratic Age, a possible happening which frightens Bloom to no end throughout the text. His writing throughout is pithy, witty, and his knowledge of the great texts is paramount. He is truly an inspiring figure, and it is hard to argue with his general philosophy of Literature as he expresses it here, however controversial a figure he remains. He, and his student a spiritual successor Paglia, are wrongly associated with cultural conservationism; rather, they are radicals in the field of letters, fighting a noble battle against theoretical criticism mas it's students attempt to destroy the importance of greatest written works that have been made. Any book that fought this trend would have my approval, but Bloom is always a scintillating writer, making The Western Canon a healthy and necessary book for our climate. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesse | 1/16/2014

    " Definitely plays to my split personality when it comes to the concept of "The Literary Canon" and wanting to both embrace and absolve myself from it, often simultaneously. Probably about as eloquent a defense as possible in the postmodern era. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kevin Kizer | 1/9/2014

    " One of my favorite books, not only because it introduced me to classic writers I'd never read before, but because of the way Bloom writes about them. It makes one want to go out and read them all. Challenge accepted! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas Moore | 1/1/2014

    " This is the best book if you want to discover the worlds classics! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 mike | 12/16/2013

    " these essays helped motivate me to read the books under analysis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert Paglia | 10/31/2013

    " The perfect antidote to much of the PC nonsense that passes for literary criticism. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 jen8998 | 4/27/2013

    " I finally just stopped this one. Usually, these books inspire me to read more great literature. This one really didn't. I find Harold Bloom's writing very dense and entirely too esoteric for leisure reading. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 bryan | 2/13/2013

    " Bloom is a bloody brilliant guy, but I don't understand what the hell he's saying half the time. I'm sure the fault is mine and not his. On a completely unrelated note, I've heard him boast that he never re-writes. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lindsey | 2/8/2013

    " Harold Bloom is painful to read. Painful, I say. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul Doody | 7/15/2012

    " Brilliant account of the Western Canon of great literature, explaining what the canon is, how it is made, and why it matters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rauan | 6/19/2012

    " The Shakespeare worship does grate after a while.... and certain preferences and readings fall a bit flat (on Wordsworth and Beckett's "Endgame" for example)... but generally very thought-and-passion provoking... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 10/12/2011

    " My professorial favorite, Harold Bloom, has written another brilliant book, this time about the Western canon. His books are like taking a college course, but more fun. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Timothy | 10/9/2011

    " I read it the way I read suspense novels. I couldn't put it down. Well, I could, but I didn't like to. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rauan | 12/27/2010

    " The Shakespeare worship does grate after a while.... and certain preferences and readings fall a bit flat (on Wordsworth and Beckett's "Endgame" for example)... but generally very thought-and-passion provoking... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lindsey | 9/6/2010

    " Harold Bloom is painful to read. Painful, I say. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nisah | 8/18/2010

    " Understanding what are the canon works in English Literature. Bloom, listed only 26 books. Canon = masterpiece, worthy to be noted & discussed in the world of academia. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 6/15/2010

    " Brilliant account of the Western Canon of great literature, explaining what the canon is, how it is made, and why it matters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nick_popa | 1/27/2010

    " I would have only read pop fiction had it not been for Bloom! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Typewriter | 10/23/2009

    " Ra ra ra for this great big book. Whoopee; fantastic.

    It makes me want to go out and gently hit people over the head with it.

    I don't agree with his opinions, but I do agree with his attitudes. "

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