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From: "j. s." <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: <paglia-l> Bloom TV
Date: Tue, 6 May 2003 15:13:27 -0700 (PDT)
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By weird coincidence I tuned into CSPAN2 the other day
just as they began a 3 hour (yes, 3) interview with
Bloom, in his house near Yale. It went by slowly,
though, as he talked even more slowly than usual.
(He's exempt from Paglia's criticisms on this point,
apparently, as he is for not watching tv, using the
internet, and loving baseball.)

It was mostly people calling in and asking him to
comment on their favorite authors; his responses were
mostly quoted from his books, without the verve he has
in other interviews. The drama was in him introducing
himself by saying he warred against Eliot as a young
academic, but now finds himself quoting Eliot every
five minutes - the poet "winning his own triumph over
me." Especially a fragment from 4 quartets: "these
things have served their purpose; let them be."

A couple of things he said, none Paglia related:

- In April he has an anthology of poetry (Chaucer to
Frost) coming out. Then he's writing a book now called
"Reaching Wisdom: The Use of Literature For Life" -
though he says he'll change it, only keeping the
subtitle. He came off rather poorly, I'm afraid, later
on when shrugging off a question of how loving
literature has helped him through his recent health
crises. (He had a triple bypass heart operation the
day that 'Genius' was released, and referred often to
the psychological 'trauma' of it.)

- He says the Academy is irrelevant; the danger is
from the 'Mediaversity' which is corrupted by
academics' diseases. He's done an "end run around the
academy" by writing for the general public.

- The gender or ethnicity of a writer is "simply not
interesting to me."

- "The world does not get better or worse; it just
gets older."

- He doesn't know how to type. He writes in ledgers,
which assistents transcribe. He wakes up at 4:30am,
having slept only 3 or 4 hours, and this with the help
of sedatives. (I'm guessing he's not made friends with
the necessity of dying.)

- He drinks large quantities of English breakfast tea,
which apparently used to be caffinated, but now for
health reasons isn't.

- His hands have trembled since childhood.

- He definined the sublime as 'being upon the heights'
or Dickinson's 'transport'.

- He doesn't know Russian, and apparently reads Proust
more often in translation than the original.

- He had a terrible time in high school. "I shouldn't
have been there."

- Asked about younger contemporary writers he likes,
he mentions Henry Cole (?), Anne Carson (refers to her
repeatedly), and Tony Kushner. "There has been no
decline in American literature or the reading public;
just in the university."

- On the NYT book review: "It isn't written, so why
should anyone read it?"

- Says he's an 'amateur' at kabballah and has never
really gotten Hinduism.

- Misc. He pronounces decades /decay-des/. Asked to
recite Dickinson he says a few lines of "because you
are going" saying it's about Judge Lord. Calls
cultural studies "this curious mode." Just wrote a
piece on Emerson for the Guardian. Says the Koran is a
long monologue by God: "That is quite a recitation."

He looks very old, esp with his hair cut. Falstaff is
bleeding out of him.

--Jon

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