Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

Personality, in our sense, is a Shakespearean invention, and is not only Shakespeare s greatest originality but also the authentic cause of his perpetual pervasiveness So Harold Bloom opines in his outrageously ambitious Shakespeare The Invention of the Human This is a titanic claim But then this is a titanic book, wrought by a latter day critical colossus and befor Personality, in our sense, is a Shakespearean invention, and is not only Shakespeare s greatest originality but also the authentic cause of his perpetual pervasiveness So Harold Bloom opines in his outrageously ambitious Shakespeare The Invention of the Human This is a titanic claim But then this is a titanic book, wrought by a latter day critical colossus and before Bloom is done with us, he has made us wonder whether his vision of Shakespeare s influence on the whole of our lives might not be simply the sober truth Shakespeare is a feast of arguments and insights, written with engaging frankness and affecting immediacy Bloom ranges through the Bard s plays in the probable order of their composition, relating play to play and character to character, maintaining all the while a shrewd grasp of Shakespeare s own burgeoning sensibility It is a long and fascinating itinerary, and one littered with thousands of sharp insights Listen to Bloom on Romeo and Juliet The Nurse and Mercutio, both of them audience favorites, are nevertheless bad news, in different but complementary ways On The Merchant of Venice To reduce him to contemporary theatrical terms, Shylock would be an Arthur Miller protagonist displaced into a Cole Porter musical, Willy Loman wandering about in Kiss Me Kate On As You Like It Rosalind is unique in Shakespeare, perhaps indeed in Western drama, because it is so difficult to achieve a perspective upon her that she herself does not anticipate and share Bloom even offers some belated vocational counseling to Falstaff, identifying him as an Elizabethan Mr Chips Falstaff is than skeptical, but he is too much of a teacher his true vocation, than highwayman to follow skepticism out to its nihilistic borders, as Hamlet does In the end, it doesn t matter very much whether we agree with all or any of these ideas What does matter is that Bloom s capacious book sends us hurrying back to some of the central texts of our civilization The ultimate use of Shakespeare, the author asserts, is to let him teach you to think too well, to whatever truth you can sustain without perishing Bloom himself has made excellent use of his hero s instruction, and now he teaches us all to do the same Daniel Hintzsche
Shakespeare The Invention of the Human Personality in our sense is a Shakespearean invention and is not only Shakespeare s greatest originality but also the authentic cause of his perpetual pervasiveness So Harold Bloom opines in his ou

  • Title: Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human
  • Author: Harold Bloom
  • ISBN: 9781841150475
  • Page: 257
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human”

    1. I probably should try to like Harold Bloom better, since he seems to bring people to Shakespeare who wouldn't normally read him. But I just can't.I have to say I found this book one of the silliest things I've ever read. Bloom's suppositions that Shakespeare invented the human personality are just ludicrous. Mostly, I think he gets away with some of his more grandiose theorems because he's either preaching to the choir or to those not informed enough to know better. But really, people didn't sel [...]

    2. I dimly remember when this book came out (1998) how big and important and controversial it was supposed to be. Given Harold Bloom’s prodigious reputation, I was afraid of the thing, and so avoided it, figuring it to be fraught with lit theory of the densest sort. A couple years ago I found a copy dirt-cheap at some thrift store or another and its fat binding has glowered at me from the shelves since. A few weeks ago I decided to give it a try and found it to be a piece o’ cake, mostly. To be [...]

    3. Brilliant, infuriating, dazzling, provocative, maddening, thrilling and explosive. This book is not wonderful because Bloom is always right but because he always excites and challenges. Always. Page after page after page he brashly, almost recklessly tosses out hypotheses, makes thundering assertions as though they just came down from Mount Sinai, dismisses entire populations of artists, assumes fantastic responsibilities in society not just for the artist but for the critic and generally makes [...]

    4. I think I like Harold Bloom even more now that you're not supposed to like him because he's a snob/misogynist/old white guy/whatever the reason is you're not supposed to like him, but this was the first book of literary theory I ever read (I was 15), so it holds a special place in my brainheart.It also holds a special place in my brainheart because Bloom is pretty much right on about everything he's saying in regards to Shahkespeare's invention of modern personality, and because he unabashedly p [...]

    5. Yes, I'm going to read Harold Bloom's book putting forth the preposterous notion that humanity didn't exist before Shakespeare. Haters gonna hate. What, jealous?

    6. The subtitle deliberately goads anyone who came of age after 1960 to pull the Eurocentric card. And given the amount of time Bloom has spent of late on a personal crusade against the Harry Potter series, you almost wonder if Bloom has landed a few steps to the wrong side of the line between provocative and senile. (It is puzzling to say the least that such a brilliant critic feels the need to officially weigh in -- vocally and repeatedly -- on an already critically agreed-upon observation about [...]

    7. A work in progress that will probably last several years, but I am quite enjoying Bloom's pompous, sometimes even overblown essays! :)

    8. Glad it's on my shelfbut depressed about it at the same time. A big hunk of what Bloom is trying pass off as revelatory is more like a response to younger literary critics and their beliefs. (And it's kind of charmingly ironic that Bloom attacks others for their blind devotion to narrow paradigms in a book where he spends a big glob of time psychologically fawning over Falstaff.) It's not really a book about Shakespeare; it's a book about what Harold Bloom wants us to know about Shakespeare and [...]

    9. I hate to call any book worthless, but I'm having a hard time thinking of anything of value in this narcissistic bore of a tome. Bloom has done absolutely no research on Early Modern culture, has no concept of the current scholarly discussion in Shakespeare studies, and his readings of the plays amount--basically--to platitudinous gut-reactions. Sure,he has his insights here and there, but the layperson that thinks this is in any way a great contribution to Shakespeare studies is being hoodwinke [...]

    10. I must humbly confess that I had to stop halfway this heavy slumber-driven brick-book. In the end, I am not totally sure whether or not Shakespeare did "invent the human" as the title grandiosely seems to claim. However, I am quite sure that, with a few lines, like those spoken by Holofernes in "Love's labour's lost", he did invent Harold Bloom.

    11. I've read this book a couple of times, and though my criticism of it has evolved over time, I still love it because, for me, it was the first book that made Shakespeare truly accessible. Along the way to earning my English degree, I came across some legitimate criticisms of the author, most of which came from professors teaching theory classes, and they aren't without merit. For one, the fact that Professor Bloom cites nothing, seemingly wishing the reader to believe every notion in the text is [...]

    12. If you can overlook a few tiresome idiosyncrasies, the appalling sentimentality about Falstaff and the callousness towards young women like Jessica in THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, this is a wonderful introduction to Shakespeare and his plays. All 37 essays are exciting and fun to read.

    13. In his play-by-play commentary on the works of Shakespeare, Bloom avers that William Shakespeare is the one who invented us. Not that he is the created of the human race, but something close to it; he is, says Bloom, the one who introduced to us the idea of effecting change within ourselves by self-overhearing. In addition, he argues that the most remarkable representatives of this invention of the human are Sir John Falstaff and Hamlet, the melancholy prince of Denmark. Both of them, he says, r [...]

    14. Two decades after its original publication, this book remains the best single volume of criticism and analysis of all of Shakespeare's plays. That is both good and bad.Bloom is brilliant and insightful, and can be a very clever writer. His chapters helped me better understand some of the plays as I've read, seen, and performed in them. He finds subtleties in Shakespeare's language that a layperson would miss, and does a fairly good job of tying Shakespeare into his time.This is a work of Bardola [...]

    15. Holy crap. Where to even begin with Bloom?The guy is essentially a literary theory has-been who made his name by developing a style of literary criticism and theory based on Freudian principles and ideas that made him a big deal in the 80s but these days makes him seem like a massive joke.This book is essentially 700+ pages of Bloom trying to reclaim the spotlight through what amounts to a string of wild assertions, pseudo-intellectualist pandering, and some of the most blatant contributions to [...]

    16. Calling it - too cursory and too much blockquoting; not enough academic commentary that I didn't/couldn't glean for myself from the text.Read this book if you don't plan on actually reading the plays themselves: Bloom covers plot and middle school level analysis. And he's obsessed with Falstaff. To an unhealthy degree.It's just lazy writing from an academic.

    17. The Boston Globe put it accurately: "For all its huge ambition, this book will probably prove most useful as a companion to the plays [and:] may find its longest shelf life in the homes of theatergoers who crave a literate friend who's still awake to chew things over with."

    18. This author loves himself and consistently rips apart works by female playwrights. However, yes he does know his stuff when it comes to good old Willy Shakespeare.

    19. SO. Am I convinced that Shakespeare ~invented~ human nature? Not fully. So forget about me being convinced that he invented human nature without the squiggly lines around the word invented. BUT did I still enjoy this book? Yes.I mean look; Harold Bloom just loves Shakespeare. I also love Shakespeare, although probably not as much as Harold Bloom does, because I think probably nobody ever has. I think he refers to like five different plays as his personal favourite/most-loved/most-enjoyed. But li [...]

    20. I mark this as read, though it is continuously being re-read as I continue to re-read the plays. I have no problem with his "Invention of the Human" shtick. What I do like is that he is a tremendous font of things to think about after I've read the plays and he is tremendously fair-minded in his interpretations. I don't always agree with him and the Falstaff crush does get a little old, but hey, that's the price to pay when reading someone's opinions.

    21. More notes from my Harold Bloom period: “In The Birth of Tragedy, (1873), Nietzsche memorably got Hamlet right, seeing him not as a man who thinks too much but rather as the man who thinks too well:‘For the rapture of the Dionysian state with its annihilation of the ordinary bounds and limits of existence contains, while it lasts, a lethargic element in which all personal experiences of the past become immersed. This chasm of oblivion separates the worlds of everyday reality and of Dionysian [...]

    22. His premise, that Shakespeare around 1595 invented our entire modern understanding of psychology, personality, and identity, is a little farfetched. And also not very thoroughly explained. Yes, Shakespeare was the first--and very possibly the best--at representing life-sized, dynamic characters, but that doesn't mean that humans were drastically different before 1595, just as we weren't two-dimensional with limbs askew, mismatched shadows, and infants who looked like tiny adults prior to the Ita [...]

    23. Bueno pues este libro habla sobre Shakespeare, Shakespeare y Shakespeare. El autor Harold Bloom es un reconocido crítico literario y profesor en Yale y guarda una especial veneración hacia el gran autor inglés. El libro analiza todas o casi todas las obras de Shakespeare desde su punto de vista, para mi gusto un poco exagerado ya que como dije venera e idolatra a Shakespeare. Lo que me pareció más interesante es su concepto de lo que significa Shakespeare para el mundo y lo ilustra perfecta [...]

    24. Even tho I heard about Bloom from a long time, this is the first book I finished, after all Shakespeare plays and a couple other books on the bard. I've found "Shakespeare after all" easier to follow. Even if you disagree with Bloom you gotta respect the amount of experience, insight and knowledge the man has on the subject.

    25. Some flashes of insight here and there, but Marjorie Garber's Shakespeare After All is much more interesting. And like many, I disagree with the premise of even someone as great as Will "inventing the human."

    26. Harold Bloom's central thesis in this book is that Shakespeare invented the way we now think about being human. Shakespeare discovered "much that was already there but to which we did not have access," to use Bloom's words from a lecture he once gave. In my humble opinion and with all due respect, that does not seem to me to be a thesis that you argue in a work of literary criticism; it is a thesis that belongs in a textbook on the history of psychology or philosophy. How can you possibly argue [...]

    27. Harold Bloom is a well-known American literary critic, and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. He has written over 40 books and often it is his opinions that are most interesting and overshadow the book itself. It is clear, from all that he has written, that Shakespeare has a special almost scared place in his own literary hierarchy.Bloom in the book gives analysis and overview of each of Shakespeare's 38 plays. Shakespeare’s characters in these plays reveal what it is to be h [...]

    28. I wanted to like this book. Harold Bloom is such a renowned Shakespeare scholar that I imagined getting a deeper understanding of the characters in Shakespeare. Alas, my expectations were too high.While it did help me understand Philip the Bastard's speech when he says 'Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Poison to the age's tooth' (Bloom interprets Poison as Truth), that's about as much I gained. The problems I have with the book are three: his lack of explanation for his conclusions, his - as I see it - incor [...]

    29. No lo he leído completo: lo utilizo más como referencia a cada una de las obras de Shakespeare que leo. En esta ocasión puedo recomendar el capítulo 24 sobre Otelo. Lo leí después de haber visto una representación de la ópera de Verdi y haber releido el texto en español de la famosa tragedia en la edición de Aguilar. Me pareció que el análisis que presenta de la obra y en especial en todo lo referente a la personalidad de Yago es algo muy razonado y útil para entender mejor lo prese [...]

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