POETRY AND REPRESSION

REVISIONISM FROM BLAKE TO STEVENS

This is the concluding volume to the tetralogy that Yale professor Harold Bloom initiated in The Anxiety of Influence, his 1973 manifesto for so-called "antithetical criticism." Kabbalah and Criticism and A Map of Misreading, which demonstrated the theory's critical application, were published in 1975. This book is his reinterpretation of our literary tradition, surveying post-Enlightenment English and American poetry as it developed from "the severe father of the Sublime mode," John Milton, through close readings of poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Browning, Whitman, Yeats and Stevens. According to Bloom, each of these "strong" poets has literally rewritten, via a creative misreading, the work of a greater predecessor. He carries the genealogy of influences linked by "misprision" to this extreme endpoint: "I suspect that Tintern Abbey is the modern poem proper, and that most good poems written in English since Tintern Abbey inescapably repeat, rewrite or revise it." Bloom's own philosophical mentors include Freud, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Vico, Emerson and Isaac Luria, a 16th century Jewish Kabbalist. His concept of repression is a revisioning of Freud which refers not to a sexual but to a tutelary primal scene, "the Scene of Instruction": "It is only by repressing creative 'freedom,' through the initial fixation of influence, that a person can be reborn as a poet." As you may imagine this maze of intellectual underpinnings plus a rhetoric which sometimes begins to sound like a language system unto itself, is something to try the soul of any but the strongest of "strong" readers. Taken together, Bloom's theoretical works have been hailed as a major contribution to 20th century literary criticism. He's as radical as he is erudite, and has a great deal to teach us about poetics, the canon, and the art of reading.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 1975

ISBN: 0300026048

Page Count: 293

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1975

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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