The Anxiety of Influence by Harold Bloom

‘Literature as a way of life’ is the theme of this 1973 work by the self-assured Harold Bloom ( and It is also an on-going conversation across the generations and between authors. Bloom traces out the strands of influence which connect all these authors of poetry. His take on the concept of influence is that it’s all a lot more pugilistic that a gentle hint over a cup of tea in a Georgian drawing room. Authors wrestle fiercely with the output of their predecessors and contemporaries. If they are any good they cannot escape the anxiety of influence which bears down upon them and forces them towards some form of originality. This is required reading for students of literary criticism.

204 pages in OUP USA paperback edition

ISBN 978-0195112214

Harold Bloom

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