Harold Bloom Finally Betrays How Little He Really Understood Literature

Philip Hensher at The Spectator:

No one is going to base a claim for Bloom’s merits on this final book. But it does indicate, with painful acuity, that the critic may have had little understanding of how literature is made — which is not out of ideas, as Mallarmé patiently explained to Cézanne. It doesn’t achieve its effects by saying ‘this is funny’ or ‘this is so moving’. It relishes its own voice — and to dwell on what it has stolen from others misses its ambition.

Bloom spent his life talking about literature to a captive audience, and at the end it looks to me as if he missed the point, saying with grandiose but comic insufficiency of evidence that Yeats’s ‘Under Ben Bulben’ is ‘of a badness not to be believed’. Well, that was Yeats’s last word, and this is Harold Bloom’s. I wonder — as Ronald Firbank used to say when he heard something unusually absurd.

more here.