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August 3, 2007
The Harold Bloom Tapes (Part 1)
The Harold Bloom Tapes (Part 1)In the summer of 2003, around the bicentennial of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s birth, I spent an afternoon with the Sage of New Haven, Professor Harold Bloom of Yale, in conversation around the Sage of Concord. Bloom had been a critical figure in the revival of interest in Emerson, the “father of the American Religion,” Bloom has called him. But what also emerges here, with some gentle prodding from your humble interviewer, is that Bloom’s attachment to Emerson is vitally and intimately personal. Bloom discovered the power of the bond in what he says was the most severe depression of his life — a period in his mid-late thirties in the mid-late Sixties, when he read and reread Emerson’s essays and especially his journals, with the avidity for which Bloom is famous. What he discovered was that Emerson spoke with Bloom’s own inner voice, as “the god within,” he said. These conversations are, among other things, a lesson in how to take a magisterial writer to heart, as a contemporary and something more than a best friend.
And carry on, by all means, to Part Part II: