Believed by many to be one of the world's greatest living writers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Colombian-born fiction writer and journalist. Winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, Garcia Marquez is often credited as the master of magical realism, the literary technique in which no distinction is made between reality and the fantastic. Garcia Marquez first won international fame with his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), a defining classic of twentieth century literature. Garcia Marquez's ...
Believed by many to be one of the world's greatest living writers, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a Colombian-born fiction writer and journalist. Winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, Garcia Marquez is often credited as the master of magical realism, the literary technique in which no distinction is made between reality and the fantastic. Garcia Marquez first won international fame with his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), a defining classic of twentieth century literature. Garcia Marquez's other acclaimed works include The Autumn of The Patriarch, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Love in the Time of Cholera, and his autobiography, Living to Tell the Tale. The author of many short stories, novels, and works of nonfiction, Garcia Marquez is one of the most well-known and admired living writers in the world today.
The "Bloom's Modern Critical Views" series offers a selection of critical essays for college and high school students (and other interested adults) about authors ranging from Jane Austen to Emile Zola. This volume about Gabriel Garcia Marquez (b. 1927) begins with an introduction by Bloom in which he considers Marquez's debt to Faulkner and Kafka, his "antic joy," and his "apocalyptic forebodings." Rita Guibert's interview with Marquez (1971) explores the Colombian author's views on writing, fame, and politics. After a brief biography of Marquez by Gene H. Bell-Villada, several American, English, and Latin-American scholars analyze in considerable detail a number of his works; for example, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Autumn of the Patriarch, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, and Love in the Time of Cholera. Especially interesting and helpful are essays relating the author's work to societal and political conditions and the work of various writers from Latin-American and other cultural traditions: Harley Oberhelman finds parallels between Marquez's early fiction and Hemingway; Vera Kutzinski discusses the influence of African-American myths and allegories on Latin-American literature, while Stephen M. Hart introduces his comments on magic realism in world literature with a witty pastiche by Julian Barnes. Patterns of apocalypse and destruction are explored at length by Lois Parkinson Zamora, who shows that Marquez has indicated he also believes in renewal and the possibility of utopia. A chronology and a bibliography are useful; Marquez's latest novella, Memories of My Melancholy Whores (2005), is not mentioned in any of the essays.
One of our most popular, respected, and controversial literary critics, Yale University professor Harold Bloom’s books – about, variously, Shakespeare, the Bible, and the classic literature – are as erudite as they are accessible.
"Authentic literature doesn't divide us," the scholar and literary critic Harold Bloom once said. "It addresses itself to the solitary individual or consciousness." Revered and sometimes reviled as a champion of the Western canon, Bloom insists on the importance of reading authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Chaucer -- not because they transmit certain approved cultural values, but because they transcend the limits of culture, and thus enlarge rather than constrict our sense of what it means to be human. As Bloom explained in an interview, "Shakespeare is the true multicultural author. He exists in all languages. He is put on the stage everywhere. Everyone feels that they are represented by him on the stage."
Bloom began his career by tackling the formidable legacy of T.S. Eliot, who had dismissed the English Romantic poets as undisciplined nature-worshippers. Bloom construed the Romantic poets' visions of immortality as rebellions against nature, and argued that an essentially Romantic imagination was still at work in the best modernist poets.
Having restored the Romantics to critical respectability, Bloom advanced a more general theory of poetry. His now-famous The Anxiety of Influence argued that any strong poem is a creative "misreading" of the poet's predecessor. The book raised, as the poet John Hollander wrote, "profound questions about... how the prior visions of other poems are, for a true poet, as powerful as his own dreams and as formative as his domestic childhood." In addition to developing this theory, Bloom wrote several books on sacred texts. In The Book of J, he suggested that some of the oldest parts of the Bible were written by a woman.
The Book of J was a bestseller, but it was the 1994 publication of The Western Canon that made the critic-scholar a household name. In it, Bloom decried what he called the "School of Resentment" and the use of political correctness as a basis for judging works of literature. His defense of the threatened canon formed, according to The New York Times, a "passionate demonstration of why some writers have triumphantly escaped the oblivion in which time buries almost all human effort."
Bloom placed Shakespeare along with Dante at the center of the Western canon, and he made another defense of Shakespeare's centrality with Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, an illuminating study of Shakespeare's plays. How to Read and Why (2000) revisited Shakespeare and other writers in the Bloom pantheon, and described the act of reading as both a spiritual exercise and an aesthetic pleasure.
Recently, Bloom took up another controversial stance when he attacked Harry Potter in an essay for The Wall Street Journal. His 2001 book Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages advanced an alternative to contemporary children's lit, with a collection of classic works of literature "worthy of rereading" by people of all ages.
The poet and editor David Lehman said that "while there are some critics who are known for a certain subtlety and a certain judiciousness, there are other critics... who radiate ferocious passion." Harold Bloom is a ferociously passionate reader for whom literary criticism is, as he puts it, "the art of making what is implicit in the text as finely explicit as possible."
Good To Know
Bloom earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1955 and was hired as a Yale faculty member that same year. In 1965, at the age of 35, he became one of the youngest scholars in Yale history to be appointed full professor in the department of English. He is now Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale and Berg Visiting Professor of English at New York University.
Though some conservative commentators embraced Bloom's canon as a return to traditional moral values, Bloom, who once styled himself "a Truman Democrat," dismisses attempts by both left- and right-wingers to politicize literature. "To read in the service of any ideology is not, in my judgment, to read at all," he told a New York Times interviewer.
His great affinity for Shakespeare has put Bloom in the unlikely position of stage actor on occasion; he has played his "literary hero," port-loving raconteur Sir John Falstaff, in three productions.
Bloom is married to Jeanne, a retired school psychologist whom he met while a junior faculty member at Yale in the 1950s. They have two sons.
Editor's Note vii
Introduction Harold Bloom 1
Interview with Gabriel Garcia Marquez Rita Guibert 7
The Writer's Life Gene H. Bell-Villada 33
Hemingway's Presence in the Early Short Fiction (1950-55) Harley D. Oberhelman 55
The Logic of Wings: Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Afro-American Literature Vera M. Kutzinski 67
Magical Realism in the Americas: Politicised Ghosts in One Hundred Years of Solitude, The House of Spirits, and Beloved Stephen M. Hart 83
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Steven Boldy 95
The End of Erendira's Prostitution Diane E. Marting 107
The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975) Raymond L. Williams 123
Language and Power in The Autumn of the Patriarch Jo Labanyi 145
From Mystery to Parody: (Re)readings of Garcia Marquez's Cronica de una Muerte Anunciada Isabel Alvarez-Borland 159
A Prospective Post-Script: Apropos of Love in the Times of Cholera Robin Fiddian 169
Apocalypse and Human Time in the Fiction of Gabriel Garcia Marquez Lois Parkinson Zamora 183