Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bloody Bloom

Did anyone catch the wonderful interview with Doris Lessing in the Sunday New York Times Magazine? If not, you should read it now (it's very short and it's delightful). What I really liked was the part where she gives Harold Bloom the old heave-ho. "I can't be bothered with Bloom," she says. Neither can I, though I love Doris Lessing.

In fact, you could say that Doris Lessing and Harold Bloom bracketed my collegiate English career. The first book we read in Freshman English was Martha Quest by Doris Lessing. In Senior Conference (the capstone course for English majors) we did a lot of Harold Bloom. And it was through reading Harold Bloom that I became convinced that I was not meant to have an academic career, at least not with an advanced degree in English Literature. What a lot of hooey! (With apologies to my English Lit. PhD friends who obviously got something out of it that I missed.) Thus I was delighted to read Lessing's skewering of Bloom; it made me feel like maybe I wasn't alone in my failure to appreciate him.

2 comments:

Vintage Reading said...

Heh, that's a great interview. I like her comments on feminism. Thanks for posting the link. Must read Lessing. Nicola

hj7 said...

I'm not so into her comment about feminism, though I don't entirely disagree with it, either...I think it needs some more explanation/discussion, and that as it stands it's too general and just sounds over-the-top. Bleh.

But the "bloody Bloom" bit cracked me up. I rather like him...but I haven't read nearly enough of his work to say how long that will last, and I HAVE read enough to find Lessing's snarky comment about him pretty great. :) Heh.

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