[lit-ideas] Impersonal Lit. Crit.

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2015 08:33:47 -0400

In a message dated 10/16/2015 9:55:28 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx writes of Bloom's self-disclosure.

Quoting from Bloom:

"I reread and teach Moby-Dick to uncover and appreciate the
sublimity and the danger of American Promethean heroism. But several
prolonged times when close to death, I have recited Whitman to myself as
medicine. I hardly recommend my personal praxis to students or readers
because what works for me may not do much for another. Unable to rise
out of bed for months, desperate for self-help, chanting much out of

and comments:

"Somewhere recently I read the title of an essay something to the effect
of “politicians are becoming more and more open about their personal
lives. They should quit it.” That advice should not be applied to the
poet, but should it be applied to the critic?"

Well, I loved Bloom's implicature "hardly". Indeed it would not precisely
be in good taste to recommend his students to be 'close to death' -- but
then I'm purposively taking his words LITERALLY rather than grasping their

But 'hardly' is an adverb whose implicatures have allways fascinated me.
And I write allways with a double "l" to be literal!

Perhaps we could distinguish between an impersonal literary crticit and
other. Perhaps impersonal literay criticism is more of a British thing?
Consider I. A. Richards?

Indeed, it would be out of place for Richards to disclose when and why he
feels moved by, say, Housman!

But then 'impersonal' triggers a horrible implicature. Of course Bloom and
Richards are persons, so the idea of impersonal-impersonal lit. crit. is,
figuratively, a 'chimaera' (literally, we know a chimaera was a goat!)



To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: