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Six Things That Are Dead, According to Harold Bloom

Celebrated literary critic Harold Bloom turns eighty-two this year and is still publishing and teaching. In his honor, I’ve compiled a list of six things he’s outlived.

1) The Western canon.

“Unfortunately, nothing will ever be the same because the art and passion of reading well and deeply, which was the foundation of our enterprise, depended on people who were fanatical readers when they were still small children.…The shadows lengthen in our evening land, and we approach the second millennium expecting further shadowing.” —“An Elegy for the Canon,” The Western Canon, 1994

“The battle is lost. These resentniks have destroyed the canon.” —New York Times interview, 1994

2) American education.

American education—even in elite universities—has become a scandal, in my opinion. It has committed suicide.” — interview, 2011

3) Art.

[On slam poetry] “It is the death of art.” —Paris Review interview, 2000

4) The mind.

[On Yale graduates flocking to business careers] “Alas, this is the death of the mind.” —Yale Daily News interview, 2011

5) Rock and roll.

“There hasn’t been any good American rock since, alas, The Band disbanded.” —Paris Review interview, 1991

6) The death of the author.

“It was fashionable, quite recently, to talk about ‘the death of the author,’ but this too has become rubbish. The dead genius is more alive than we are.” —Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds, 2002

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