Aesthetic splendour, cognitive power, and wisdom: An interview with Harold Bloom

“Pre-eminent American literary critic Harold Bloom’s twenty-ninth book, Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?, was officially launched a few hours after this conversation took place in his Manhattan apartment on 26 October 2004.”

Ieva Lesinska in Eurozine:

IL: Do you posess wisdom?

HB: No.

IL: No?

HB: No. If I posesed any wisdom, I would not write a book called Where Shall Wisdom Be Found? I am very unwise, I can asure you. Unwise in all things. I think I am a good teacher of literature, particularly of Shakespeare. At Yale on Wednesdays I give an undergraduate seminar. Of course, I am a one-man department, I divorced the English department back in 1976, I convinced them to reappoint me as a “profesor of absolutely nothing” – I give courses in something called humanities. And on Wednesdays I give a course, year by year, where we read all of Shakespeare together. And on Thursdays I give a course called “The Art of Reading Poetry”. I regard myself as a teacher. I remark in this new book that I have only three criteria for whether a work should be read and reread and taught to others, and they are: aesthetic splendour, cognitive power, and wisdom.

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