Author(s): Harold Bloom
Gone are the polemics. Here, instead, in a memoir of sorts--an inward journey from childhood to ninety-- Bloom argues elegiacally with nobody but Bloom, interested only in the influence of the mind upon itself when it absorbs the highest and most enduring imaginative literature. He offers more than eighty meditations on poems and prose which have haunted him since childhood and which he has possessed by memory- from the Psalms and Ecclesiastes to Shakespeare and Dr. Johnson; Spenser and Milton to Wordsworth and Keats; Walt Whitman and Browning to James Joyce and Proust; Tolstoy and Yeats to Delmore Schwartz and Amy Clampitt; Blake to Wallace Stevens--and so much more. And though he has written before about some of these authors, these exegeses, written in the winter of his life, are movingly informed by "the freshness of last things." As Bloom writes movingly in the winter of his life- "one of my concerns throughout Possessed by Memory is with the beloved dead. Most of my good friends in my generation have departed. Their voices are still in my ears. I find that they are woven into what I read. I listen not only for their voices but for the voice I heard before the world was made. My other concern is religious, in the widest sense. For me poetry and spirituality fuse as a single entity. All my long life I have sought to isolate poetic knowledge. This also involves a knowledge of God and Gods. I see imaginative literature as a kind of theurgy in which the divine is summoned, maintained, and augmented."