Joy Luck Club

Overview

Edited and introduced by Yale University professor and distinguished literary critic Harold Bloom, Bloom's Guides is a collection of comprehensive study guides for both students and adults. Emphasizing summary and analysis, these guides are designed to provide the necessary materials with which readers can gain a better understanding of the most widely read works in Western literature.

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Overview

Edited and introduced by Yale University professor and distinguished literary critic Harold Bloom, Bloom's Guides is a collection of comprehensive study guides for both students and adults. Emphasizing summary and analysis, these guides are designed to provide the necessary materials with which readers can gain a better understanding of the most widely read works in Western literature.

Key Featrues

Introductions by renowned critic Harold Bloom consider each work and its significance.

Brief biographical sketches offer insight into each author's life.

"The Story Behind the Story" details the circumstances surrounding the inception and development of the work.

Summaries with analysis review and explain key points of each work.

Selections from critical essays written by leading scholars provide accessible explorations of the work.

Annotated bibliographies direct readers to additional materials on the subject and explain the importance of each.

Essential for any student of literature looking to enhance his or her reading experience, Bloom's Guides are highly useful for test preparation, independent scholarship, or book group discussions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604135749
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Bloom's Guides
  • Pages: 146
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom
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.

Biography

"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.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Harold Irving Bloom (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York and New Haven, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 11, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Cornell University, 1951; Ph.D., Yale University, 1955

Table of Contents

Introduction 7

Biographical Sketch 9

The Story Behind the Story 15

List of Characters 23

Summary and Analysis 29

Critical Views 65

Ben Xu on the Symbolism of the Mah Jong Game 65

Gloria Shen on Amy Tan's Atypical Narrative Structure 70

M. Marie Booth Foster on Developing a Voice, Developing an Identity 75

Steven P. Sondrup on the Multiple Uses of Language in The Joy Luck Club 79

Patricia L. Hamilton on the Influence of Feng Shui in the Novel 85

Wendy Ho on a Joy Luck Club Father 90

Patricia P. Chu on Balancing the Novel's Strengths and Weaknesses 93

Peter X. Feng on taking The Joy Luck Club from Novel to Film 101

Mary Ellen Snodgrass on the Function of Storytelling in The Joy Luck Club 109

Bella Adams on Conflicting Meanings in Jing-mei's, Story 112

Magali Cornier Michael on an Alternative View of the Novel's Conclusion 116

Jane Elliott on the Struggle Between the Past and the Future 120

Works Amy Tan 127

Annotated Bibliography 128

Contributors 134

Acknowledgments 136

Index 139

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