Saturday, December 17, 2005

Harold Bloom

has a wonderful political rant up at the Guardian (this is excellent Bloom, Bloom at his most Lear-like and passionate):

What defines America? 'Democracy' is a ruined word, because of its misuse in the American political rhetoric of our moment. If Hamlet and Don Quixote, between them, define the European self, then Captain Ahab and 'Walt Whitman' (the persona, not the man) suggest a very different self from the European. Ahab is Shakespearean, Miltonic, even Byronic-Shelleyan, but his monomaniacal quest is his own, and reacts against the Emersonian self, just as Melville's beloved Hawthorne recoiled also. Whitman, a more positive Emersonian, affirms what the Sage of Concord called self-reliance, the authentic American religion rather than its Bushian parodies. Though he possesses a Yale BA and honorary doctorate, our president is semi-literate at best. He once boasted of never having read a book through, even at Yale. Henry James was affronted when he met President Theodore Roosevelt; what could he have made of George W Bush?


  1. I think we all know that Henry James would have found George W. Bush "vulgar", as he seemingly found everything.

    Oh I have finally gotten around to reading "Prep" which I think you mentioned here once and I thoroughly enjoyed, more likely than not because I myself am a prep school graduate (although I didn't board, many of my friends did).


  2. So grand, so great. Yes, you're right--too bad there's not a great adjective for "Lear"-like--that's just right. Thanks for the link.