On Harold Bloom

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In his writing, his speaking, his very being, Harold Bloom was a great Teacher: provocative, often outrageous, and to use one of his favorite words, daemonic. Expounding Shakespeare or Emerson, the Bible or Cormac McCarthy, he invited his listeners to scorch our hands in the fire of literature and to accept the elemental encounter. It wasn’t a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with Harold: it was a matter of participating. As he wrote in the just-published The American Canon, “Poems matter only if we matter.” His parting has made, as Shakespeare wrote in Antony and Cleopatra, “a gap in nature.”