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The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry download epub

by Harold Bloom


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Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence has cast its long shadow of influence since it was first published in 1973. Through an insightful study of Romantic poets, Bloom puts forth his central vision of the relations between precursors and the individual artist

Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence has cast its long shadow of influence since it was first published in 1973. Through an insightful study of Romantic poets, Bloom puts forth his central vision of the relations between precursors and the individual artist. His argument that all literary texts are a strong misreading of those that precede them had an enormous impact on the practice of criticism and post-structuralist literary theory. The book remains a central work of criticism for all students of literature.

Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence has cast its own long shadow of influence since it was first published in 1973. Through an insightful study of Romantic poets, Bloom puts forth his central vision of the relations between tradition and the individual artist. Although Bloom was never the leader of any critical ''camp,'' his argument that all literary texts are a response to those that precede them had an enormous impact on the practice of deconstruction and poststructuralist literary theory in this country.

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Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence has cast its long shadow of influence since it was first published in 1973. His argument that all literary texts are a strong misreading of those that precede them had an enormous impact on Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence has cast its long shadow of influence since it was first published in 1973.

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The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry is a 1973 book by Harold Bloom. It was the first in a series of books that advanced a new "revisionary" or antithetical approach to literary criticism. Bloom's central thesis is that poets are hindered in their creative process by the ambiguous relationship they necessarily maintain with precursor poets.

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Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them. Greater than, you know? a book for people who read poetry. com User, October 28, 2001.

Harold Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence has cast its own long shadow of influence since it was first published in 1973. Through an insightful study of Romantic poets, Bloom puts forth his central vision of the relations between tradition and the individual artist. Although Bloom was never the leader of any critical "camp," his argument that all literary texts are a response to those that precede them had an enormous impact on the practice of deconstruction and poststructuralist literary theory in this country. The book remains a central work of criticism for all students of literature and has sold over 17,000 copies in paperback since 1984. Written in a moving personal style, anchored by concrete examples, and memorably quotable, Bloom's book maintains that the anxiety of influence cannot be evaded--neither by poets nor by responsible readers and critics. This second edition contains a new Introduction, which explains the genesis of Bloom's thinking and the subsequent influence of the book on literary criticism of the past twenty years.criticism of the past twenty years. Here, Bloom asserts that the anxiety of influence comes out of a complex act of strong misreading, a creative interpretation he calls "poetic misprision." The influence-anxiety does not so much concern the forerunner but rather is an anxiety achieved in and by the story, novel, play, poem, or essay. In other words, without Keats's reading of Shakespeare, Milton, and Wordsworth, we could not have Keats's odes and sonnets and his two Hyperions. Given the enormous attention generated by Bloom's controversial The Western Canon, this new edition is certain to find a readymade audience among the new generation of scholars, students, and layreaders interested in the Bloom cannon.

Comments: (7)

Blacknight
No, Bloom's book is not fun in the traditional sense of the word; rather, it is a fun way to peer into the psychological tropes that govern poetic composition and an enjoyable method to use when analyzing poetic texts. I used the book as a foundation for writing a paper about John Milton's influence on 18th-century English poet Thomas Gray, and each stage of poetic growth that Bloom discusses provides endless possibilities for explicating the meta-textual meanings of any poem when placed in context to its predecessors. Bloom's writing style is highly erudite and may seem dauntingly academic at first, but his ideas are often very clear and proceed in a highly logical manner (despite various tangents about the origins of Bloom's chosen terms).

The book may require more than one close reading to fully understand Bloom's dense and complex theory, but in each read, one finds more passages fulfill the book's overarching thesis. The book may not be of much use to someone who is not interested in poetry or literary studies, but worth a read if you're into studying poetry or literary critical theory of any type. Bloom is also one of our century's most important (if debated) critics, and should be required reading for all interested in English literature and theory.
Thabel
There is no doubt that Bloom's self-proclaimed "Nietzschean" theory of poetry suffers from a certain kind of myopia, as other reviewers have noted. By the same exact token, there can be no doubt that the truthfulness and nuance it has is extraordinarily powerful, extending far beyond the realm of mere literary theory into something of a robust psychology or literary philosophical anthropology. As human beings, we are constantly in the business of attempting to "say it new," pace Pound. Like poetry, religion, and every other production of the human imagination, each of which strives, like human life, to shed itself of its afterbirth on the way to elevating itself asymptotically into the impossible ideal of pure Reason, there are only certain conditions on which Bloom's theory becomes a disappointment. The most major of these has its analogy in human relationships, and particularly romance: if we take it too literally and seriously, it becomes useless, stupid, trivial, and a disappointment, for then it loses the full breadth of both the mystery it evokes and its truthfulness. Think of it this way: a "smart-idiot" challenge to Bloom might be that the first poets were cave-painters. Who were they trying to one up? The theory retains a wondrousness and truth when we realize that (mother) Nature was the first of men's rivals, challenging him at each remove to forge a happier existence for himself with the very unique tools of spirit with which she armed him. And he did this by painting images of what he hoped most fondly for in moments of starvation and fear and scarcity: images of the beasts whose flesh he longed for, and whose representations gave him the courage he needed, in an almost magical operation wherein the spirit overcame the recalcitrance of his starving flesh, and spurred him on to another hunt, in spite of the fact that he was hungered and in pain. It is in this way that man first spoke his poetry in an effort to beat nature at her own game -- he stole the images she gave him, and reappropriated them to encourage his own soul, like every poet since those times has.
Yramede
Artist or poet here is a description of the artistic tradition a must read if you want to understand the evolution of art. Brillant book. Ilive it. Reminds me of Shelly'a in defense of poetry.
Rexfire
The book to read, if you are a student of poetry.
X-MEN
Bloom seeks to deconstruct the process of understanding a poem (or novel, etc.) by itself, and looks to promote the comparison between two poems. The focus of analysis should be a poem that has been influenced by an older poem. The aim of this approach is to see how the new poem deliberately misinterpreted the older poem. Bloom calls this “Antithetical Criticism.”

Bloom’s idea is, to any young critic like me, a thought-provoking and engaging idea. However, if you are an established critic, especially an established New Critic, the idea that Bloom presents might disagree with your fundamental assumptions of literature.

All in all, this book presents an idea, a new mode of criticism, most will find exciting. It appeases our desire to focus on the psychological aspects of the poem and the poet, and it appeases our desire to focus on the individuality of a poet.

Although this is not the only way to see a piece of literature, but it has given me a new way to look at literature, added a new examining tool to my handy-bag, and equipped me with a deeper knowledge of literature as a whole. I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of literature.
LoboThommy
Yes Bloom is a great and inspiring critic, a great creator himself. Yes, Bloom's work is filled with tremendously interesting insights into Literature,remarkable unexpected connections between creators who seemed so distant from each other.

No, Literature does not follow the simple law of progression, or the simple Law of a creator's strong reaction to the strong creators before. There are figures in Literature who in some way seem to be reacting to no one( Hopkins is one good example) and figures whose whole discourse is in absorbing the creation of others not to transcend them but to celebrate them.( Borges) There are also creators who however they may be influenced by others, as Kafka was influenced by Dickens and perhaps Kierkegaard, have such a unique way of seeing the world that they seem to be born of themselves. In Literature it is not necessary always to stand on the shoulders of Giants much less knock the Giant down if one is to move forward.

The laws of literary creation are as mysterious and individual as the next new voice which comes to the world. Quixote may over- ride the romantic chivalrous literature Cervantes parodies but he does this in a comically humane way that no one before or since has or could surpass.
The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry download epub
History & Criticism
Author: Harold Bloom
ISBN: 0195112210
Category: Literature & Fiction
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (April 10, 1997)
Pages: 208 pages