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Re: [mythsoc] Harold Bloom: Fwd from David Lenander

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  • Stolzi@aol.com
    Are there any sweeping, heroic fantasy romances which Bloom actually likes? That s what I d ask him. And if he had some favorites and they were all of
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 28, 2001
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      "Are there any sweeping, heroic fantasy romances which Bloom actually likes?
      That's what I'd ask him. And if he had some favorites and they were all of
      earlier centuries, I'd assume that this, plus calling LOTR "quaint," is
      apptly an example of what Lewis called Chronological Snobbery. We Don't
      Write Like That Any More."

      i can't post to the MythSoc list, one of these days I must talk to Joan
      about how to fix this. But I thought Id tell you: Bloom, who really has
      written good criticism, including a wonderful refutation of Northrup Frye's
      _Fearful Symmetry_ in his book on Blake, actually wrote a SF novel of his
      own, which I have somewhere, but which I never finished. I think he
      probably liked David Lindsey's _A Voyage to Arcturus_, which is the book
      that I seem to recall noticing must have influenced the writing of the Bloom
      novel. I don't think that Bloom's novel is very good, actually. As for
      heroic fantasy, as you may have gathered here, Bloom likes Blake's long,
      dramatic, obscure and difficult narrative poems, which certainly qualify as
      sweeping, heroic and fantasy.

      I think he doesn't like Tolkien's conservatism, and picks on his writing
      because of that. Bloom probably requires a lot more sex in "adult books,"
      at least those written in the 50s, and I don't mean the rated X kind.

      Remember, Michael Moorcock started out as a Tolkien fan.

      Bloom's big literary thesis was that writers have to kill their literary
      forefathers. So it may be that he feels influence from writers in inverse
      proportion to his literary evaluation. Actually, it sounds like he just
      doesn't take Tolkien very seriously.

      I might add, in fairness, that while I think Tolkien is better at writing
      than Haggard to whom he owes much in style, especially, and in the end at
      least as powerful (though there is an unpleasant but undeniable power in
      Haggard, particularly centering on sexuality, which I think is absent in
      Tolkien--it's a little akin to some of Marion Zimmer Bradley's undeniable
      power, though I find her writing less unpleasant if stylistically inferior
      to Haggard), I don't think Tolkien is either the finest stylist or in any
      other sense the best writer of the 20th century, even if he's one of the
      most popular, and one of the dearest to me.

      I think Bloom probably looks upon Tolkien somewhat as I look upon J.K.
      Rowlings (I'm currently slogging through the 4th Harry Potter book--which
      does NOT seem to me evidence of improvement in Rowlings's writing, as
      promised by ?David B? and others). Though at least I can enjoy it on some
      level--well, actually, I probably agree with Bloom that _The Hobbit_ is
      Tolkien's finest work--and he does seem to approve of that.


      -- David Lenander
      293 Selby Ave. St. Paul, MN 55102-1811
      d-lena@... 651-292-8887
    • alexeik@aol.com
      In a message dated 9/28/1 7:52:56 PM, David Lenander wrote:
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 1, 2001
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        In a message dated 9/28/1 7:52:56 PM, David Lenander wrote:

        <<Bloom … actually wrote a SF novel of his
        own, which I have somewhere, but which I never finished. I think he
        probably liked David Lindsey's _A Voyage to Arcturus_, which is the book
        that I seem to recall noticing must have influenced the writing of the Bloom
        novel. I don't think that Bloom's novel is very good, actually. >>

        It's been a long time since I read it, so I don't remember details very well,
        but at the time I recall thinking that Bloom's novel (which was called
        something like _The Flight From Lucifer_, I think?) was a *plagiarisation* of
        _A Voyage to Arcturus_, since it incorporated a lot of Lindsay's plot
        elements and even some of his names without once acknowledging his debt to
        Lindsay. I suspect he thought Lindsay's book was so obscure nobody would
        notice.
        I agree that it wasn't a very good book, and very inferior to its model
        (which, although it often attracts disparaging comments, I find to be a
        numinous, powerfully inspired book, and a marginal but undisputable fantasy
        classic).
        Alexei
      • David S. Bratman
        _The Flight to Lucifer: A Gnostic Fantasy_ (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1979)
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 1, 2001
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          _The Flight to Lucifer: A Gnostic Fantasy_ (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1979)

          At 09:11 AM 10/1/2001 , Alexei wrote:

          >It's been a long time since I read it, so I don't remember details very well,
          >but at the time I recall thinking that Bloom's novel (which was called
          >something like _The Flight From Lucifer_, I think?) was a *plagiarisation* of
          >_A Voyage to Arcturus_, since it incorporated a lot of Lindsay's plot
          >elements and even some of his names without once acknowledging his debt to
          >Lindsay. I suspect he thought Lindsay's book was so obscure nobody would
          >notice.
        • Janet Croft
          The Flight to Lucifer: A Gnostic Fantasy. Amazon reviews: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374526303/qid=1001953581/sr=1-3/ref=
          Message 4 of 4 , Oct 1, 2001
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            The Flight to Lucifer: A Gnostic Fantasy. Amazon reviews:
            http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0374526303/qid=1001953581/sr=1-3/ref=
            sr_1_0_3/104-6457102-1488700. Sounds pretty bad.....

            Janet
            -----Original Message-----
            From: alexeik@... [mailto:alexeik@...]
            Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001 11:11 AM
            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: Re: [mythsoc] Harold Bloom: Fwd from David Lenander



            In a message dated 9/28/1 7:52:56 PM, David Lenander wrote:

            <<Bloom ... actually wrote a SF novel of his
            own, which I have somewhere, but which I never finished. I think he
            probably liked David Lindsey's _A Voyage to Arcturus_, which is the book
            that I seem to recall noticing must have influenced the writing of the
            Bloom
            novel. I don't think that Bloom's novel is very good, actually. >>

            It's been a long time since I read it, so I don't remember details very
            well,
            but at the time I recall thinking that Bloom's novel (which was called
            something like _The Flight From Lucifer_, I think?) was a *plagiarisation*
            of
            _A Voyage to Arcturus_, since it incorporated a lot of Lindsay's plot
            elements and even some of his names without once acknowledging his debt to
            Lindsay. I suspect he thought Lindsay's book was so obscure nobody would
            notice.
            I agree that it wasn't a very good book, and very inferior to its model
            (which, although it often attracts disparaging comments, I find to be a
            numinous, powerfully inspired book, and a marginal but undisputable
            fantasy
            classic).
            Alexei


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