Harold Bloom: The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages

(2419 words)
  • Graham Allen (University College Cork)

The Western Canon is the most important of Harold Bloom's recent books. Bloom's “recent” work can be traced back to Ruin the Sacred Truths: Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present (Cambridge, Mass. and London: Harvard University Press, 1989), a text in which he decisively shifted his critical focus from an analysis of the anxiety of influence to the origins of that anxiety in the great authors of the Western tradition: the J-writer (the earliest Biblical author), Dante and above all Shakespeare. Bloom's The Western Canon is his most direct and sustained defence of the originality of the great writers within the Western literary tradition or Canon (Bloom goes so far in this text as to refer to world …

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Allen, Graham. "The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 November 2002; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=10619, accessed 26 April 2015.]