Harold Bloom on Emerson’s Journals

The Harper’s blog has a short interview with Harold Bloom around his new book, The Anatomy of Influence. Some interesting thoughts on the journal of Emerson:

The journals represent the pure Emerson. You shouldn’t think of them as “journals.” They do have clear order and form, but they are the keys to understanding him. Don’t invest in that over-edited Harvard edition, but do buy the complete journals — better, one of the old editions — and wade deeply into them. You’ll find the inner Waldo:

Whilst I adore this ineffable life which is at my heart, it will not condescend to gossip with me, it will not announce to me any particulars of science, it will not enter into the details of my biography, and say to me why I have a son and daughters born to me, or why my son dies in his sixth year of life. Herein, then I have this latent omniscience coexistent with omnigorance. Moreover, whilst this Deity glows at the heart, and by his unlimited presentiments gives me all Power, I know that to-morrow will be as this day, I am a dwarf, and I remain a dwarf. That is to say, I believe in Fate. As long as I am weak, I shall talk of Fate; whenever the God fills me with his fullness, I shall see the disappearance of Fate. I am defeated all the time; yet to Victory I am born.

That entry dates to April 1842. Magnificent. The essays are wonderful. The poems are very good. But the journals: sublime.

Also see The Quarterly Conversation’s review of NYRB’s edition of fellow transcendentalist Thoreau’s journals.

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He’s actually talking about Emerson not Thoreau…


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Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

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5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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