Posted by Russell Perkin on September 9th, 2009
This reminds me that someone (and I would love to know whom: I’ve never been able to find the reference again) once pointed out, unkindly but with at least some justification, that Bloom’s famous “anxiety of influence” was really just a reworking of Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual Talent”! Interesting in view of Bloom’s hostility to Eliot.
In partial defence of Bloom, in response to both Bob’s and Joe’s thoroughly reasonable comments, he has modelled himself on the “divine Oscar” with some success. (I know this is not a popular view. I never get very far defending him to most of my colleagues and friends!) And for me, in spite of its obscurities and exaggerations, The Anxiety of Infuence remains one of the indispensable critical books of the second half of the twentieth century.