The American Canon Literary Genius from Emerson to Pynchon

Our foremost literary critic on our most essential writers from Emerson and Whitman to Hurston and Ellison from Faulkner and O'Connor to Ursula K LeGuin and Philip RothNo critic has better understood the ways writers influence one anotherhow literary traditions are madeand no writer has helped readers understand this better than Harold Bloom Over the course of a remarkable sixty year career in such bestselling books as The Western Canon Shakespeare The Invention of the Human and How to Read and Why Bloom brought enormous insight and infectious enthusiasm to the great writers of the Western tradition from Shakespeare and Cervantes to the British Romantics and the Russian masters Now for the first time comes a collection of his brilliant writings about the American tradition the ultimate guide to our nations literatureAssembled with DavidMikics Slow Reading in a Hurried Age this unprecedented collection gathers five decades worth of Blooms writings much of it hard to find and long unavailableincluding essays occasional pieces and introductions as well as excerpts from his books It offers deep readings of 47 essential American writers reflecting on the surprising ways they have influenced each other acrossthan two centuries The story it tells of American literature as a recurring artistic struggle for selfhood speaks to the passion and power of the American spiritAll of the visionary American writers who have long preoccupied BloomEmerson and Whitman Hawthorne and Melville and Dickinson Faulkner Crane Frost Stevens and Bishopmake their appearance in The American Canon along with Hemingway James OConnor Ellison Hurston LeGuinAshberyand many others Blooms passion for these classic writers is contagious and he reminds readers how they have shaped our sense of who we are and how they can summon us to be better versions of ourselves BloomMikicswrites is still our most inspirational critic still the man who can enlighten us by telling us to read as if our lives depended on it Because he insists they doFor readers who want to deepen their appreciation of American literature there's no better place to start than The American CanonOur foremost literary critic on our most essential writers from Emerson and Whitman to Hurston and Ellison from Faulkner and O'Connor to Ursula K LeGuin and Philip RothNo critic has better understood the ways writers influence one anotherhow literary traditions are madeand no writer has helped readers understand this better than Harold Bloom Over the course of a remarkable sixty year career in such bestselling books as The Western Canon Shakespeare The Invention of the Human and How to Read and Why Bloom brought enormous insight and infectious enthusiasm to the great writers of the Western tradition from Shakespeare and Cervantes to the British Romantics and the Russian masters Now for the first time comes a collection of his brilliant writings about the American tradition the ultimate guide to our nations literatureAssembled with DavidMikics Slow Reading in a Hurried Age this unprecedented collection gathers five decades worth of Blooms writings much of it hard to find and long unavailableincluding essays occasional pieces and introductions as well as excerpts from his books It offers deep readings of 47 essential American writers reflecting on the surprising ways they have influenced each other acrossthan two centuries The story it tells of American literature as a recurring artistic struggle for selfhood speaks to the passion and power of the American spiritAll of the visionary American writers who have long preoccupied BloomEmerson and Whitman Hawthorne and Melville and Dickinson Faulkner Crane Frost Stevens and Bishopmake their appearance in The American Canon along with Hemingway James OConnor Ellison Hurston LeGuinAshberyand many others Blooms passion for these classic writers is contagious and he reminds readers how they have shaped our sense of who we are and how they can summon us to be better versions of ourselves BloomMikicswrites is still our most inspirational critic still the man who can enlighten us by telling us to read as if our lives depended on it Because he insists they doFor readers who want to deepen their appreciation of American literature there's no better place to start than The American CanonOur foremost literary critic on our most essential writers from Emerson and Whitman to Hurston and Ellison from Faulkner and O'Connor to Ursula K LeGuin and Philip RothNo critic has better understood the ways writers influence one anotherhow literary traditions are madeand no writer has helped readers understand this better than Harold Bloom Over the course of a remarkable sixty year career in such bestselling books as The Western Canon Shakespeare The Invention of the Human and How to Read and Why Bloom brought enormous insight and infectious enthusiasm to the great writers of the Western tradition from Shakespeare and Cervantes to the British Romantics and the Russian masters Now for the first time comes a collection of his brilliant writings about the American tradition the ultimate guide to our nations literatureAssembled with DavidMikics Slow Reading in a Hurried Age this unprecedented collection gathers five decades worth of Blooms writings much of it hard to find and long unavailableincluding essays occasional pieces and introductions as well as excerpts from his books It offers deep readings of 47 essential American writers reflecting on the surprising ways they have influenced each other acrossthan two centuries The story it tells of American literature as a recurring artistic struggle for selfhood speaks to the passion and power of the American spiritAll of the visionary American writers who have long preoccupied BloomEmerson and Whitman Hawthorne and Melville and Dickinson Faulkner Crane Frost Stevens and Bishopmake their appearance in The American Canon along with Hemingway James OConnor Ellison Hurston LeGuinAshberyand many others Blooms passion for these classic writers is contagious and he reminds readers how they have shaped our sense of who we are and how they can summon us to be better versions of ourselves BloomMikicswrites is still our most inspirational critic still the man who can enlighten us by telling us to read as if our lives depended on it Because he insists they doFor readers who want to deepen their appreciation of American literature there's no better place to start than The American Canon


5 thoughts on “The American Canon Literary Genius from Emerson to Pynchon

  1. says:

    In this volume the general chapter by chapter brilliance of the Bloom authored commentary on particular canonized authors is offset by a dubious selection of authors for canonization by editor David Makics Yes this book's canon is Makics' canon not Bloom's Indeed in an email to me this past February Bloom wrote responding to an inquiry by me about whom the book would canonize I have no idea what will be in the book The American Canon For some perspective on Mikics’ selections only 22 novelists of the 35 novelists in Bloom’s 2004 Novelists and Novels are included Thirteen are deleted namely Kate Chopin Upton Sinclair Penn Warren Sinclair Lewis John Steinbeck Richard Wright Saul Bellow Norman Mailer Bernard Malamud William Gaddis Walker Percy Paul Auster and Amy Tan Three novelists Theodore Dreiser Katherine Ann Porter and Eudora Welty are addedIn his “Preface” Makics describes his selection in these words “I have chosen to represent the figures about whom Bloom has made his strongest argument and have omitted some well known figures toward whom he displayed mixed feelings in his criticism” “Tried to represent” might have been candid For example as regards the avoidance of “mixed feeling” the Bloom reading on Edward Albee which mentions only Zoo Story and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf says of the latter that it is “hardly for all time” Regarding omitted “well known figures” of the 9 US Nobel Prize winners only O’Neal Hemingway Faulkner and Morrison are included Readings though almost invariably excellent do not always seem optimally selected as where the Pynchon is represented by a selection that refers only to Gravity’s Rainbow and The Crying of Lot 49 despite Bloom’s reference to Mason Dixon in his “Introduction” to Novelists and Novels as “one of the four grand narratives composed by living Americans”Both Bloom fans and newcomers will find much to enjoy in The American Canon However those seeking word from Bloom on his favorites in a form free of possibly excessive excisions can proceed to Novelists and Novels and parallel tomes on the epic the short story the play the essay and the poem