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I very much enjoyed this book, and read it in the context of Bloom's theory of the revisionary ratios. As apparent from the Title, Bloom's precursor here is Northrop Frye. The mode of discourse is on the same level as Fyre's masterworks, The Great Code and Words With Power. Also indicated by the reference to Frye's is the centrality of Blakeanism to Bloom's discussion.
I would firstly point out that Bloom's entire discussion is an intricate and elegant proof of Blake's compelling first tractate, All Religions are One:
Principle 4.As none by travelling over known lands can find out the unknown. So from already acquired knowledge Man could not acquire more. therefore an Universal Poetic Genius exists
Principle 5. The Religions of all Nations are derived from each Nations different reception of the Poetic Genius which is every where call'd the Spirit of Prophecy.
Where Frye attempted to contextualize the manifestations of the Poetic Genius and understand its function within the Western Canon, centering on Shakespeare, Bloom tries to discover and describe how the Poetic Genius, the Universe of Insight, is wrestled with by individual poets. Jacob-like, poets wrestle. The poetically strong emerge, having at best fought a delaying action, with new understanding of this Spirit, this Monad. The strong poet contributes to the greater aesthetic understanding of this Spirit and, as it were, adds his refinements to the equations of psychohistory (see Asimov). It is the contribution to the Culture's insight into the Poetic Genius as the Spirit of Prophecy acts (or will act) IN THE REAL WORLD which allows a poem or poet to enter the Canon.
Interestingly, the journeyman work of reading poems (or of singing or painting) is what allows a Poet to find the keys to paradise, but only the paradise of Beulah, the lesser heaven. Beulah, which is explored by the creative personality as he or she engages is spiritual cartography, ultimately reveals one story only, that of the Bride and the Bridegroom, of Beatrice and Dante, of Simon and Helen. Freud's desperate struggle to understand, and thus outflank, the Poetic Genius is central to Bloom's discussion, yet Bloom himself is a much more penetrating observer than Freud, and as a theorist Blooms much surpasses Freud. The reason for Bloom's triumph of insight is the method worked out in The Anxiety of Influence, A Map of Misreading, Kabbalah and Criticism, and Poetry & Repression. Put succinctly, Bloom's method allows him to be correct, accurate, and pragmatically useful.
Thus Harold Bloom, finding himself in the last revisionary ratio, is back in Northop Frye's shoes -- describing the structural aspects of the edifice created by the Poetic Genius' reception in our world. Having recognized his precursor at last, "Bloom Regained" illuminates with detailed critical observations of the influence of that informing structure on individual poets and their methods for reading individual poems. Frye's Great Code is vindicated because of its truthfulness and its structural integrity.
I am very happy that Professor Bloom chose not to finish this book. While he could not forestall the Apophrades, his wrestling with Frye's structural questions allows the Canon to add yet another layer of understanding and fertile creativity. Bloom must be credited with facilitating a new Century's assimilation of the Poetic Genius of William Blake, English Literature's deep root.
The dogs may bark, but the Canon moves on.