The Essential West: Collected Essays

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Before you ask, "what about x, y, or z! And if you still do not find authors you believe deserve inclusion in any version of the Western Canon, pick up a copy of Bloom's book to learn more about his critical criteria. We're hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture's continued operation, please consider making a donation. We thank you! Kafka was born in Prague back then part of the Austrian-Hungarian Kingdom and hence definitly no german.

Bloom is terrible. If women had been treated as equals throughout history, there would be a great many more on this list. Apart from Behn whom Bloom believes is fourth rate , other surprising omissions include Mary Wollstonecroft and Anne Carson her best work was yet to come, though. Wodehouse, etc. Frankly this is for me a red flag even for a humble professor of English literature and culture. These are not minor figures. Sarah, all of the writers you mention are included in the full list, but not on this edited version.

He learned to read both Yiddish and Hebrew before English. Only a library cormorant could have undertaken so immensely ambitious a task as to survey all of Western literature, from Dante to Borges, in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Russian. What do you mean? It is a good place to start, if you want to catch up on the classics. He is not reliable after , though. It is even more Anglo-or American- centric, with only a few female authors.

Good call on Livy and Tacitus! Bloom, in his introduction to the first list, acknowledges the fact that many Greek and Latin works of great merit have been excluded. Have you read the book? Though he does say that he reads books from everywhere, east or west. Have you read the book, Sarah? When art is consciously forced through an ideology, it dies immediately. We all act out our ideologies subconsciously. What you have left is propaganda in its many-hyphenated forms. Or whatever the current group identity is currently being promoted.

If you do, you will read some of these books written by dead white males. Not because I think their viewpoint is correct or laudable, but because in the past, unfortunately, only white men had access to education and leisure time necessary to create art. Therefore, their contribution to Western Civ which is currently passing away is the most important. Of course women and minorities should be represented when the quality of their work is high. I mean compared to historical standards, whatever you might define those to be.

What we have now, though, are whole areas of traditional literature being labeled and shunted aside without being read.

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This also goes to the appalling ignorance of history, misunderstanding of myth, and obsession with the literal so common in youth today. Allan Bloom may be a conservative icon, but there is no doubt much of what he says is pretty much on the mark. All one needs to do is teach at a college for a year and find that his view of students is often on target.

Name required. Email required. Click here to cancel reply. Get the best cultural and educational resources on the web curated for you in a daily email. We never spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Open Culture scours the web for the best educational media. Hesiod ca. Sappho ca. Sophocles c. Aristophanes ca. Thucydides, ca. Plato, c. Hellenistic Greeks Menander, ca. Plutarch, 46— Lives; Moralia.

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Aesop - BC Fables. Petronius, c. Lucretius, 98? Catullus c. Attis and Other Poems. Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca. Apuleius, c. Wolfram von Eschenbach, — Parzival. Beowulf ca.

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Petrarch, Lyric Poems; Selections. Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron. Matteo Maria Boiardo, or Orlando Innamorato. Lodovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso. Benvenuto Cellini, — Autobiography. England and Scotland Chaucer, Geoffrey ca. Thomas More, Utopia. Philip Sidney, Christopher Marlowe, Poems and Plays.


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Thomas Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller. William Shakespeare, Plays and Poems. John Donne, Poems; Sermons. Ben Jonson, Poems, Plays, and Masques. Francis Bacon, — Essays. Robert Burton, — The Anatomy of Melancholy. Thomas Hobbes, — Leviathan. Herrick, Robert, Poems. Andrew Marvell, Poems.

John Ford, ca. John Webster, c. Izaak Walton, The Compleat Angler.

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John Aubrey, — Brief Lives. Samuel Butler, Hudibras. Alexander Pope, Poems. John Gay, The Beggar's Opera.

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James Boswell, Life of Johnson; Journals. Samuel Johnson, — Works. William Cowper, Poetical Works.

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Defoe, Daniel ? Samuel Richardson, Clarissa; Pamela; Sir Charles Grandison. Fanny Burney, Evelina. France Michel de Montaigne, Essays. Francois Rabelais, ? Gargantua and Pantagruel. Marguerite de Navarre, — The Heptameron. Jean de La Fontaine, Fables. George Sand, The Haunted Pool. Guy de Maupassant, Selected Short Stories. William Wordsworth, — Poems; The Prelude. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, — Poems and Prose. Hazlitt, William, Essays and Criticism. George Byron, Don Juan; P oems.

Chapter 7, loaded with quotations and anecdotes, looks at childhood, examining the lives of girls and boys in the Plains. Space constraints forbid my recounting here the scores of insights and apt phrases that decorate the book throughout. Every chapter, not only those just mentioned, is rewarding, rich, freshly thought out, and enjoyable.

White is right. Highly recommended. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. Forged from a partnership between a university press and a library, Project MUSE is a trusted part of the academic and scholarly community it serves.

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