I pre-ordered Harold Bloom's latest book, Possessed by Memory: The Inward Light of Criticism, months ago and had completely forgotten it was coming out today. Thanks to a quick email, I realized it was now waiting for me on my Kindle bookshelf. I can't overstate how excited I am to finally read this.
For the past few months, I’ve been ruminating on King Lear, a play I had previously never seen before. I had the opportunity to watch Ian McKellen play Lear on 27 September 2018, broadcast by the National Theatre Live. Shortly thereafter, I watched Anthony Hopkins’ own performance in Amazon’s recent adaptation. And shortly after that, I read the Yale Annotated Edition of King Lear, with an essay by Harold Bloom at the end. Since that late September, I’ve been fascinated, maybe even a touch obsessed with this piece and its titular figure. With some effort, I’d like to see if I can express what King Lear has evoked in and elicited from me over the past four months.
I’ve known about Harold Bloom since I first read The American Religion (1992, 2013) in 2015, but about two months ago I discovered for the first time what may be called (despite Bloom’s own wishes) the spiritual successor to that previous book: Omens of Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection (1997). In reading Omens, I was captivated afresh with a topic that I had known about since I was a teenager, but which Bloom himself seemed to capture and articulate in ways I never could: namely, the ancient spiritual traditions collectively known as Gnosticism. Instantly intrigued, I devoured Omens, reread American Religion, and set out for more books by Bloom (I’ve attached a list of suggested reading to the end of this post, in fact).