Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism

Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism⚦ [PDF] ✎ Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism By Harold Bloom ✶ – Heartforum.co.uk In arguably his most personal and lasting book, America s most daringly original and controversial critic gives us brief, luminous readings of than eighty texts by canonical authors texts he has had b In arguably his most Memory: The MOBI ò personal and lasting book, America s most daringly original Possessed by ePUB × and controversial critic gives us brief, luminous readings of than eighty texts by canonical by Memory: The Epub Ü authors texts he has had by heart since childhoodGone are the polemics Here, instead, in a memoir of sorts an inward journey from childhood to ninety Bloom argues elegiacally with nobody but Bloom, interested only in the influence of the mind upon itself when it absorbs the highest and most enduring imaginative literature He offers than eighty meditations on poems and prose that have haunted him since childhood and which he has possessed by memory from the Psalms and Ecclesiastes to Shakespeare and Dr Johnson Spenser and Milton to Wordsworth and Keats Whitman and Browning to Joyce and Proust Tolstoy and Yeats to Del Schwartz and Amy Clampitt Blake to Wallace Stevens and so much And though he has written before about some of these authors, these exegeses, written in the winter of his life, are movingly informed by the freshness of last things As Bloom writes movingly One of my concerns throughout Possessed by Memory is with the beloved dead Most of my good friends in my generation have departed Their voices are still in my ears I find that they are woven into what I read I listen not only for their voices but also for the voice I heard before the world was made My other concern is religious, in the widest sense For me poetry and spirituality fuse as a single entity All my long life I have sought to isolate poetic knowledge This also involves a knowledge of God and gods I see imaginative literature as a kind of theurgy in which the divine is summoned, maintained, and augmented.

Harold Bloom was an Memory: The MOBI ò American literary critic and the Sterling Professor of Humanities Possessed by ePUB × at Yale University Since the publication of his first book in , Bloom has by Memory: The Epub Ü writtenthan forty books of literary criticism, several books discussing religion, and one novel He edited hundreds of anthologies.

Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism ePUB
    Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism ePUB in a memoir of sorts an inward journey from childhood to ninety Bloom argues elegiacally with nobody but Bloom, interested only in the influence of the mind upon itself when it absorbs the highest and most enduring imaginative literature He offers than eighty meditations on poems and prose that have haunted him since childhood and which he has possessed by memory from the Psalms and Ecclesiastes to Shakespeare and Dr Johnson Spenser and Milton to Wordsworth and Keats Whitman and Browning to Joyce and Proust Tolstoy and Yeats to Del Schwartz and Amy Clampitt Blake to Wallace Stevens and so much And though he has written before about some of these authors, these exegeses, written in the winter of his life, are movingly informed by the freshness of last things As Bloom writes movingly One of my concerns throughout Possessed by Memory is with the beloved dead Most of my good friends in my generation have departed Their voices are still in my ears I find that they are woven into what I read I listen not only for their voices but also for the voice I heard before the world was made My other concern is religious, in the widest sense For me poetry and spirituality fuse as a single entity All my long life I have sought to isolate poetic knowledge This also involves a knowledge of God and gods I see imaginative literature as a kind of theurgy in which the divine is summoned, maintained, and augmented."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 544 pages
  • Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism
  • Harold Bloom
  • 02 March 2019
  • 0525520880

10 thoughts on “Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism

  1. Krista says:

    This book is reverie and not argument My title is the book in a single phrase What is it to be possessed by memory How does possession differ in these to possess dead or lost friends and lovers, or to possess poetry and heightened prose by memoryNearing ninety, legendary critic Harold Bloom has assembled in Possessed by Memory a sort of memoir out of his favourite poems alongside passages from the Old Testament and Shakespeare , which, with his own thoughts interspersed, give proof t This book is reverie and not argument My title is the book in a single phrase What is it to be possessed by memory How does possession differ in these to possess dead or lost friends and lovers, or to possess poetry and heightened prose by memoryNearing ninety, legendary critic Harold Bloom has assembled in Possessed by Memory a sort of memoir out of his favourite poems alongside passages from the Old Testament and Shakespeare , which, with his own thoughts interspersed, give proof to the wonderful epigraph by Oscar Wilde That is what the highest criticism really is, the record of one s own soul Written over six years, we watch as Bloom s body inevitably declines, andurgently, we watch as he monthly says goodbye to his friends and colleagues of many decades he has, indeed, entered the elegy season I must confess that much of Bloom s thoughts on writing are beyond my understanding, but I learned much from the still active professor this is a dense yet rewarding read Note I read an ARC and passages quoted may not be in their final forms I am aware that some readers may turn away from Possessed by Memorybecause what they regard as heretical or at least esoteric distracts from the reading of poetry I address not them but those who yearn for what I would term a Shakespearean reading of the best poetry made available to us, here in our Evening Land, of the tradition sparked by Homer and Isaiah That tradition is dying As a literary and religious critic, I wish to rally a saving remnant I am enthralled by the image of the insomniac Bloom reciting long stretches of by heart epics and poems to himself in the middle of the night I remember having to memorise a handful of shortish poems while in school, and they are lost to me now In a society that seems to be ever turning away from our cultural foundations, I can relate to Bloom s urge to rally a saving fragment However, because my education was not steeped in poetry and psalms, I couldn t always make the intertextual or exegetical connections that Bloom seems to take for granted with his readers I can only take it as given as Bloom relates one poem to another links one poet to the next as he so often does A lifelong brooder on the problems of poetic influence, I have learned that one ultimate canonical test for poetic magnitude is provided by the sublime progeny a poet engenders By that test, Wordsworth, William Blake, Shelley, and John Keats can be awarded the palm over Byron Each of them lived on in the cavalcade of Anglo American poetry, from Tennyson and Browning through Whitman and Emily Dickinson on to Thomas Hardy, D H Lawrence, William Butler Yeats, Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, T S Eliot, and Hart Crane I can think only of early Auden as a poet who attempted to carry on Byron s legacy, with indifferent success. And I am evenlost when Bloom speaks in the jargon of poetry The transcendental impulse that powers Shelley s Pindaric flights is not alien to Keats, yet he turns away from it as Shakespeare did, choosing Ovidian flux and change over Platonic yearnings for a premature Eternity. And if I may be permitted a minor complaint on format Possessed by Memory often reads like a collection of essays instead of one linked work Not only could I not really see an overall theme other than an aged Bloom sharing whatever poems high prose he felt like writing about , but many definitive statements were repeated throughout the essays, each time as though for the first time that Johnson had inherited from Pope a distrust of the Sublime or that Blake, like Milton, was a sect of one or that Tennyson knew the quantity of every English word except for scissors or that Whitman writes as though he is ahead of us and waiting for the reader to catch up But who am I to criticise the critic For the most part, this is a collection of other peoples mostly Western white males writing Bloom s own thoughts take up not much space at all However, I will put here some of what I found most intriguing Since childhood, I have meditated upon this agon of Israel with the Angel of Death I interpret it not only as an allegory of Jewish history indeed, of universal history but also as the story of my own life, and the lives of everyone I have known, loved, taught, and mourned In the half light of my incessant nocturnal wakefulness, I begin to conceive of it as the struggle of every solitary deep reader to find in the highest literature what will suffice. From childhood through old age, I have been made uncomfortable by a God who demands sacrifices that are also thanksgivings Post Holocaust, this will not work for many among us, and I frequently retreat from the Psalms to the poetry of Paul Celan, which has a difficult rightness, and does not seek to praise what can no longer be praised. My religion is the appreciation of high literature Shakespeare is the summit Revelation for me is Shakespearean or nothing. The deepest lesson I have learned from Johnson is that any authority of criticism as a literary genre must depend on the human wisdom of the critic, and not upon the wrongness or rightness of either theory or praxis. Now almost all of my friends among the poets and critics of my generation have departed Mourning for so many men and women does not diffuse an individual grief yet makes it seem less urgent. I have no doubt that Possessed by Memory will be of most interest to those who better speak Bloom s language, but I found many points of connection here myself most especially when Bloom was writing intimately of his decline and his losses In its way, it s a perfectly fitting memoir the capstone of a deep reader s life

  2. John says:

    My introduction to Harold Bloom was his Anxiety of Influence, which I read over 30 years ago I still have my original hardcover, though it is not a reference booklike something to hang onto because you found it intriguing like a colorful shell on the beach.Although I enjoyed Possessed By Memory for the most part, I must say that much of what he has written in it has been written before by him It s repetitive, unfortunately, if you have been a reader of Bloom If you put the pages of thi My introduction to Harold Bloom was his Anxiety of Influence, which I read over 30 years ago I still have my original hardcover, though it is not a reference booklike something to hang onto because you found it intriguing like a colorful shell on the beach.Although I enjoyed Possessed By Memory for the most part, I must say that much of what he has written in it has been written before by him It s repetitive, unfortunately, if you have been a reader of Bloom If you put the pages of this book under the cover of his recent critical memoirs like Anatomy of Influence and The Daemon Knows, you would have the same book written three times.This is really my only criticism I understand he is writing about about what has moved him over a long life of close reading, study, teaching, and thought If I were to recommend a great book as an introduction to Bloom, try his How To Read And Why It s about the joys of reading through the works of his favorites And it works well

  3. Yazan says:

    bardolatorAlfred A Knopf 2019Possessed by Memory 1998 2003 2005 2011 2011theurgy

  4. Kevin Yee says:

    Beautiful A personal work filled with final observations of a lifetime of reading I learned a lot from Bloom s influences and works that hold a special place for him, I found the recollection of his memories that tie works to specific moments very moving.

  5. Vishvapani says:

    This is a moving book to read some six months after Bloom s death, not because what he writes is new but because its elegiac cast I would have enjoyed astraightforward memoir of Bloom s inner intellectual and spiritual development, but his reflections on religion, inwardness and all the associated values are always mediated they are always reflections on texts, and it is no different here, where s final book, at the age of 88 is a reflection on the poems he has by heart and lives best This is a moving book to read some six months after Bloom s death, not because what he writes is new but because its elegiac cast I would have enjoyed astraightforward memoir of Bloom s inner intellectual and spiritual development, but his reflections on religion, inwardness and all the associated values are always mediated they are always reflections on texts, and it is no different here, where s final book, at the age of 88 is a reflection on the poems he has by heart and lives best Even the reflections in his final chapter on the relationship between memory and the imminent prospect of death takes the form of a commentary on Proust with a coda from Dr Johnson I can t help feeling that this is a limitation, but Bloom was perhaps too self doubting and too abstracted in the very large world of literature to regard his own life experiences as source of transcendence, as Proust did, or as the basis of moral insight as did Dr Johnson Of course it is also his strength In this work we hear Bloom musing to himself, at times ruminating on texts he possesses by memory, and communicating with the poets as with old friends as he struggles with the indignities of old age in the middle of the night He is always at his best, I think, as here when he focusses on particular texts rather than drifting not generalisations and of course he muses is a personal dialect that readers must learn to recognise But in my mind not having read his other recent works the angle of perception of poets from the author of Job and Ecclesiastes down to Shakespeare and Milton, the High Romantics, Whitman, Stevens and American contemporaries like Ammons and Ashberry, about whom he has been writing for six decades, is subtly changed by the shadow of death.The blurb tells us, with evident relief that in this book gone are the polemics The polemics in fact make only a small part of Bloom s output, and were always concerned to save literature as a resource for the inner lives of readers that is capable of expanding those lives into the greatest imaginable scope and capacity Here he approaches the poets, once again, as openings to ways of being that can support us in the face of death This is implicitly polemical because it reveals poetry s importance in a very direct way it suggests why we might turn again to the poets when our time is reaching its terminus, and it should prompt us to wonder if we would wish to read new historicism or post structuralists, and what they really have to teach us about poetry in this aspect.This is essential reading for lovers of Bloom It is fine reading for lovers of poetry It may find a particular place for people who are one or both of these and are themselves approaching death Which other 88 year old has written so finely Who else has been so fully equipped to encounter death through in the strong light of the literary canonical

  6. Weronika says:

    I remember walking into a bookstore last April and seeing this heavy book displayed on the countertop Dear God, the guy is still alive , I said to the bookstore s owner It must be a posthumous volume I did not buy the book then, it overwhelmed me But just a couple of days later, I dutifully trotted back to the same place and splurged on this sizeable tome by a writer who was still alive at that time, but would soon be gone.He might have seemed so out of touch old, white, male And all I remember walking into a bookstore last April and seeing this heavy book displayed on the countertop Dear God, the guy is still alive , I said to the bookstore s owner It must be a posthumous volume I did not buy the book then, it overwhelmed me But just a couple of days later, I dutifully trotted back to the same place and splurged on this sizeable tome by a writer who was still alive at that time, but would soon be gone.He might have seemed so out of touch old, white, male And all this Freud really, in the 21st century But somehow since I discovered him he felt like a kindred soul obsessed by beauty, possessed by his love for literature, which became his real world, his real home I envied him his passion, his dedication to the pursuit of the sublime What a wonderful life he must have lived in his mind R.I.P one of the greatest literary scholars of all time

  7. Frederick Gault says:

    Normally I love his insight s but not this time This isa reflection on me than the author.

  8. Eric Willeforde says:

    A memoir in the form of commentary on great classic poems and contemporary poems by people Bloom knew I wish he did this for novelists too but this is quite good.

  9. Haifa says:

    Eurocentric literariness at its best.

  10. Kent Winward says:

    Bloom in his late 80s musing on poetry He is at his best with Shakespeare.

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