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Thread: What languages does harold bloom know?

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    What languages does harold bloom know?

    Since he is the premier living critic on the western canon, what languages does he know?

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    He grew up speaking Hebrew and Yiddish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lykren View Post
    He grew up speaking Hebrew and Yiddish.
    Does he know any other languages?

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    Registered User Poetaster's Avatar
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    I don't think so.
    'So - this is where we stand. Win all, lose all,
    we have come to this: the crisis of our lives'

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    He's pinned down on this problem by a Spanish interviewer here:

    http://rua.ua.es/dspace/bitstream/10...RAEI_09_12.pdf

    He admits that a "Western canon" put forward by a Spanish critic would be different. Surely, the only way to get close to a true "Western canon" would be to obtain a consensus from the top critics from all Western countries. That could be attempted here! Who is the top canoniser in your country? Which books in Bloom's canon are in his/her "Western canon"?

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    I mostly started this thread because I was curious if bloom was a polyglot since he's read thousands of books and has a superhuman reading at speed.

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Bloom speaks fluent pompous.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    Bloom speaks fluent pompous.
    Hahaha! Only too true. He's obviously very learned, well-read and all that, but that's no excuse for his arrogant attitude.

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    lichtrausch lichtrausch's Avatar
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    In the interviewed linked to above, Bloom says the following:

    "Spanish for me is an acquired language, which I can read but I cannot speak. I wish I could speak Spanish."

    "It happens that I can read Catalan poetry because I studied Provencal, and..."

    "Catalan poetry is in some ways easier for me than Castilian poetry, because even though I studied Spanish, I probably did not study it as well as I studied Provencal. And it is surprising how close Catalan poetry is to Provencal. Spanish poetry is very difficult for me, although, you know, with the help of good translations and good commentaries..."

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    Oh, so he can speak with some authority on Spanish and French literature then.

    When I looked at his 'Canon' I was surprised how blatantly anglo-centric it was.

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    Someone who thinks spanish poetry is too difficult, has little authority on spanish literature (which easily reflects how superficial he is about it).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Ernst View Post
    I mostly started this thread because I was curious if bloom was a polyglot since he's read thousands of books and has a superhuman reading at speed.
    "His reading rate is not what it used to be, he says. In his early thirties, the basic Bloomian reading speed with a serious text was 1000 pages an hour; it might be less than half that today."

    I don't believe his self-quoted reading speeds - I think he's being mischievous. Maybe he's wondering if some brave student/journalist would dare suggest testing the mighty cham

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    lichtrausch lichtrausch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mal4mac View Post
    I don't believe his self-quoted reading speeds
    Me either. Scientific studies on speed reading have shown that comprehension drops sharply as you get up to the speeds that speed readers claim. The only real method to get faster than normal reading speeds is to minimize subvocalization, but that still leaves you far short of speed reading.

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    Registered User kiki1982's Avatar
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    Oh, yes, my father reads about 500 pages in an evening of 3 to 4 hours. Yet he says, when the book is finished, that he can't remember what it said! What's the use of that?!

    Conversely, my mother and I can still recount a story and any impressions we got from it for 10 years afterwards (even longer). I used to read about 10 books per year of various lengths. Averaging about one average-sized book per month. I suppose I'm slower now because I see badly and although I've got a Kindle now, reading still takes much effort, but that said, I can still discuss The Three musketeers which I read 6 years ago, once.
    One has to laugh before being happy, because otherwise one risks to die before having laughed.

    "Je crains [...] que l'me ne se vide ces passe-temps vains, et que le fin du fin ne soit la fin des fins." (Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Acte III, Scne VII)

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    I am similarly unimpressed with Bloomish boasts about reading speed. You don't rush sex, why would you rush reading (as I may have said before)? I have pretty bad nystagmus, which slows down my reading in any case. I could care less. I read what I want, when I want, and I end up reading a hell of a lot because (as an old coot), reading is what I mostly do. I love to read out loud, and I often read the same page several times if it strikes me as beautiful. I refuse to rush. Why should I?
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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