Ruin the Sacred Truths
Poetry and Belief from the Bible to the Present
Winner of the Christian Gauss Award of the Phi Beta Kappa Society
Narrated by Mort Crim
Approximately 7 hours
Book published by Harvard University Press
Bloom surveys with majestic view the literature of the West from the Old Testament to Samuel Beckett. He provocatively rereads the Yahwist (or J) writer, Jeremiah, Job, Jonah, the Iliad, the Aeneid, Dante's Divine Comedy, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, the Henry IV plays, Paradise Lost, Blake's Milton, Wordsworth's Prelude, and works by Freud, Kafka, and Beckett. In so doing, he uncovers the truth that all our attempts to call any strong work more sacred than another are merely political and social formulations. This is criticism at its best.
Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University, Berg Professor of English at New York University, and a former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard. His more than twenty books include Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, The Western Canon, The Book of J, and other works. He is a MacArthur Prize fellow; a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the recipient of many awards, including the Academy's Gold Medal for Criticism; and he holds honorary degrees from the universities of Rome and Bologna.
Mort Crim (narrator) is the winner of the prestigious Audie Award (Audio Publishers Association). He is a former television news anchor in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Detroit.
“Taking Oscar Wilde's premise that criticism is "the only civilized form of autobiography," Bloom uses the 1987-88 Norton Lectures to present his personal encounter with Western authors from the author of the Hebrew Bible to Freud and Beckett. Specifically, Bloom considers the poet's struggle with the boundaries of meaning and truth to represent God. He denies, however, that poetry can represent belief. It is instead, he argues, an attempt to represent the unrepresentablethat is, the sublime. The discussion also reexamines Bloom's earlier preoccupation with influence as well as favorite authors such as Blake and Stevens. The result is often provoking, but always stimulating.”
“The wit, the eclecticism and the gripping paradoxes...the force of [Bloom's] intellect carries the reader from pinnacle to pinnacle, showing a new spiritual landscape from each. ”
—Roger Scruton, Washington Times
“Bloom's puissance is not entirely his own; for some of it, he is indebted to Nietzsche, Freud, Schopenhauer, Gershom Scholem, and other masters. But enough of it is his own to constitute a distinctive form of splendor.”
—Denis Donoghue, New York Review of Books
“In some ways the wildest of the wild men (and women), in some ways the most traditional of the traditionalists, Harold Bloom remains serene amid the turbulence—much of it caused by him. He stands dauntless, a party of one, as thrilling to behold up on the high wire as he is (at times) throttling to read on the page...From this strong critic dealing with these strong poets comes a potent mix of insight.”
—Mark Feeney, Boston Globe
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. The Hebrew Bible
2. From Homer to Dante
5. Enlightenment and Romanticism
6. Freud and Beyond