Yesterday, Harold Bloom died at the age of 89.
For those who aren’t familiar, Harold Bloom was a giant name in academic literature criticism circles. His books and articles were taught in virtually every English department.
He was the last gatekeeper, the last great, staunch defender of the Western (read “great, white, male”) literature canon.
He hated any study of literature that went beyond aesthetics.
He hated popular culture, which is ironic because his most beloved author (Shakespeare) was the epitome of 16th century popular culture.
He was a literary elitist and published a lot, by academic standards.
He was also well known among English faculty and grad students as a predator, repeatedly accused of sexual harassment and assault for virtually his entire career. One of my grad school profs was one of his victims. Sadly, his victims will never see him punished.
He is also reported to have told his undergrad classes at Yale to go ahead and report his homophobia and sexism, because the department chair would rather hide under his desk than cross Harold F-ing Bloom (not in those exact words, but close).
In short, there are many whose deaths I mourn: Tom Petty, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Terry Pratchett, Aretha Franklin, Carrie Fisher to name some of the most recently lost . . . but, Harold Bloom will not be among that illustrious crowd.