Here are some excerpts from a book review of "Genius" by Harold Bloom.
Besides the general interest for many in the list it also mentions
Eliot.  The review was printed in the October 20, 2002 Sunday Boston
Globe's "Ideas" section on pages D6 and D9.  On page D7 is a large
characture of a naked Bloom as Adam being touched by God ala the
Sistine Chapel.  The article (but alas, not the picture) is online at

Note: It is a mixed review.  Gardner really hits it but then recommends it.



Rhapsody in Bloom

In the cultural survey "Genius," literary critic Harold Bloom waxes
lyrical on himself, and 100 other magnificent minds

By Howard Gardner, 10/20/2002

On nearly every criterion by which I customarily judge books and
authors, Harold Bloom's "Genius" is irritating, even
infuriating. Let me count the ways. While ostensibly about 100
literary geniuses, the book is highly egocentric. We learn a great
deal about one additional genius - the distinguished literary analyst
Harold Bloom: his views, predilections, foibles, and numerous other
writings. ...

Bloom is an acknowledged expert on reading deeply. When we read
individuals of genius, he explains, our own consciousness is
expanded. Indeed, that is his "operational definition" (a phrase he
would doubtless reject) of genius. And yet, this book - which seems to
have escaped any editing - is unnecessarily difficult to read. ...

Now that I have vented my frustrations, I can turn to the matter at
hand: what Bloom is trying to achieve and to what extent he has
succeeded. Bloom believes that there exists a class of imaginative
writers and critics that he calls literary geniuses and that they
differ from the rest of us, including those with talent (talent is
limited, genius is transcendent). Conceding that no list can be
definitive, he has selected those individuals whom he considers most
irreplaceable and has sought to explicate the nature of each writer's


... Shakespeare, Samuel Johnson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson are the
heroes; T. S. Eliot - who does make the list - heads the roster of
authors with whom Bloom is out of sympathy, a roster of refuses that
also includes Edith Wharton and Fyodor Dostoevsky, who nonetheless
make the list, and George Bernard Shaw and Vladimir Nabokov, who are
excluded. ...

Yet - and those familiar with the genre of book reviewing will
appreciate that I signaled this conclusion in the first sentence - I
have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who loves
literature. ...

Personally, I cherish two redeeming features. First, there is Bloom's
capacity to draw arresting parallels and connections across time and
space; ...  Second, there are Bloom's insightful characterizations of
specific authors and texts. ...