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Bloom, Harold. THE WESTERN CANON: THE BOOKS AND SCHOOL OF THE AGES. New York City, NY: Harcourt Brace, 1994. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 578 pages. Fine/Fine.

Book-length account on subject. One of the most valuable books of our time. Review Copy. Review Material laid-in. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Harold Bloom's "The Western Canon: The Books And School of The Ages". His still-controversial pronouncement on canonical literature. "Shakespeare is the canon. He defines for the Western world the standard by which we judge all other literature. And more: He defines for us what we are to ourselves, what we understand of human nature. The evolution of human consciousness seems to have taken its one jolt forward with Shakespeare, who captured the entire scope of what is new" (Stuart Whitwell). It is easy to misunderstand, and thereby dismiss, what Bloom is saying when he asserts the centrality of the one writer he has elevated to the status of Founding Father: He sees the whole of Western literature THROUGH Shakespeare instead of through philosophy, neo-liberalism, critical theory, or conservative ideology, as ALL other contemporary critics do. Bloom is not saying that we should read only Shakespeare. On the contrary, Bloom himself has read, and written about, everyone else worth reading. Still, if there is any other writer, living or dead, greater than Shakespeare, then who is it? To be sure, it's an intimidating, even oppressive, standard. Most writers will fall short of true greatness, and writing itself is an impossible calling. But through Shakespeare, Bloom makes us see that this is what The Canon is all about: Greatness. The Great Works is an ongoing project that always moves in two directions simultaneously: It expands (by embracing vibrant, new voices) and contracts (by removing once-vital works that do not endure, "period pieces") at the same time. In the process, Bloom challenges - and demolishes - such currently fashionable notions as multiculturalism, New Historicism, academicism, and most pernicious of all, political correctness. The avidly read Appendix, "A Canonical Prophecy", a list of books today that will probably be timeless tomorrow, has been vindicated more than twenty-five years (as of 2019) after Bloom put it together. An absolute "must-have" title for Harold Bloom collectors. This is a Review Copy. The Review Material is laid-in. The latter includes a dazzling summary-essay by Harold Bloom that is adapted from his book. This title is a great book. As far as we know, this is the only Review Copy of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a beauty. Please note: Copies available online have serious flaws, are subsequent printings, or are remainder-marked. This is surely an accessible and lovely alternative. A rare copy thus. The greatest literary critic of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER HAROLD BLOOM TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 0151957479. $70.00

This item is available for purchase. This web page was most recently updated on October 17, 2019.