Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages

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"If readers are to come to Shakespeare and to Chekhov, to Henry James and to Jane Austen, then they are best prepared if they have read Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling," writes Harold Bloom in his introduction to this enchanting and much-needed anthology of exceptional stories and poems selected to inspire a lifelong love of reading. As television, video games, and the Internet threaten to distract young people from the solitary pleasures of reading, Bloom presents a volume that will amuse, challenge, and ...

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"If readers are to come to Shakespeare and to Chekhov, to Henry James and to Jane Austen, then they are best prepared if they have read Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, Robert Louis Stevenson and Rudyard Kipling," writes Harold Bloom in his introduction to this enchanting and much-needed anthology of exceptional stories and poems selected to inspire a lifelong love of reading. As television, video games, and the Internet threaten to distract young people from the solitary pleasures of reading, Bloom presents a volume that will amuse, challenge, and beguile readers with its myriad voices and subjects.
Here are old favorites by beloved writers of children's literature, as well as exciting rediscoveries and wonderful works penned by writers better known for their adult classics, such as Herman Melville, Leo Tolstoy, Edith Wharton, and Walt Whitman. Encompassing the natural world and the supernatural; childhood, romance, and death; pets, wild animals, and goblins; mystery, adventure, and humor; the selections reflect the passion and erudition of our most revered literary critic. Arranged by season, Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages is a must-have anthology, sure to delight readers young and old for years to come.

A collection of stories and poems, arranged in four sections corresponding to the four seasons.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
From the esteemed literary critic and scholar -- and author of the instant classic How to Read and Why -- comes a primer for parents who want to introduce their children to great literature.
From the Publisher
The New York Times Magazine A colossus among critics.... His enthusiasm for literature is a joyous intoxicant.

Michael Pakenham The Baltimore Sun Bloom, one of this nation's premier intellects, draws together and makes sense of the purpose of the smartest, most enduring tales and poetry written primarily for children. The result is delightful reading.

John Mark Eberhart The Kansas City Star This volume...should indeed be shared by the generations.

Children's Literature
As the title suggests, these short stories and poems are for the adult child as well as the youngster. Open the book anywhere and find a story or poem that is delightful, thought provoking or perfect for sharing. Harold Bloom has selected great authors from the 19th century and earlier, authors who are mainly known for their adult classics. He believes that if children are given good literature, they will be encouraged to read, no longer bored with mundane stories. The poems and stories are not hard to understand. A reader need only persevere to comprehend the selection. "It is by extending oneself, by extending some capacity previously unused that you come to a better knowledge of your own potential." Lewis Carroll's character, Alice, is featured, a character that could empower children to stand up for what they know is right. Kipling's The Elephant's Child, Walt Whitman's A Noiseless Patient Spider, Aesop's Fables, Stephen Crane's The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, and Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat are among the long time favorites of young and old alike. 2001, Scribner, $27.50. Ages 7 to 12. Reviewer: Janet L. Rose
School Library Journal
Gr 3-8-Bloom believes that his intended audience needs few, if any, selections written after World War I. Most stories and poems in this collection come from the 19th century and earlier. Authors represented include Aesop, Rudyard Kipling, Edward Lear, Christina Rossetti, Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christopher Smart, William Shakespeare, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and many more. In his introduction, Bloom states: "-`Children's Literature'-is a mask for the dumbing-down that is destroying our literary culture. Most of what is now commercially offered as children's literature would be inadequate fare for any reader of any age at any time." Emotionally intelligent readers of all ages should be aware that Bloom's taste runs to black humor. Some of his selections, like Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes," O. Henry's "Witches' Loaves," or Mark Twain's "Journalism in Tennessee," are darkly cruel or savagely ironic. The selections are arranged thematically by the four seasons; there is no index. This collection of classic authors might be useful in a small library in need of poetry and prose from the Western canon. Libraries still owning Walter de la Mare's distinguished Come Hither (Knopf, 1923; o.p.) may pass, as may others who own works by the authors included or various Oxford collections of poetry. Bloom's collection is clearly not aimed at children's librarians, but at book-buying parents. Its consumer-flattering title recalls those conning tailors Hans Christian Andersen described in "The Emperor's New Clothes," a story conspicuously absent from this volume.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684868745
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 10/2/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 516,408
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold Bloom

Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University and Berg Professor of English at New York University. He has written more than twenty books, including The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and How to Read and Why. He is a MacArthur Prize fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of many awards, including the Academy's Gold Medal for Criticism. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and New York City.


"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



Book I....Spring

The Human Seasons John Keats

The Song of the Four Winds Thomas Love Peacock

The Wind and The Rain William Shakespeare

The Ass Eating Thistles Aesop

A Crazy Tale Gilbert Keith Chesterton

How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin Rudyard Kipling

The Message of the March Wind William Morris

A Musical Instrument Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Little Birds of the Night Stephen Crane

There Was A Child Went Forth Walt Whitman

Reflections Lafcadio Hearn

The Owl and The Pussy-Cat Edward Lear

Old May Song Anonymous

"Home No More Home To Me" Robert Louis Stevenson

The Fairies William Allingham

Green Grass Anonymous

"Beautiful Soup, So Rich and Green" Lewis Carroll

"Gay Go Up, and Gay Go Down" Anonymous

"Here We Come A Piping" Anonymous

"Hey Nonny No!" Anonymous

"I Had A Little Nut-Tree" Anonymous

The Lincolnshire Poacher Anonymous

Complements Emile Zola

Book II....Summer

The King of the Golden River John Ruskin

The Jumblies Edward Lear

A Runnable Stag John Davidson

A Pig-Tale Lewis Carroll

The Elephant's Child Rudyard Kipling

The Bottle Imp Robert Louis Stevenson

"I Saw A Peacock With A Fiery Tail" Anonymous

"In Winter, When The Fields Are White" Lewis Carroll

"Echo's Lament For Narcissus" Ben Jonson

The Way Through The Woods Rudyard Kipling

The Remarkable Rocket Oscar Wilde

Journalism In Tennessee Mark Twain

Roaring Mad Tom Anonymous

The Mad Gardener's Song Lewis Carroll

The War-Song of Dinas Vawr thomas Love Peacock

"Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" Rudyard Kipling

Uncle David's Nonsensical Story About Giants and Fairies

Catherine Sinclair

The Fox and The Hedgehog Aesop

The Goose-Girl Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm

The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde Mary De Morgan

August algernon Charles Swinburne

The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo Edward Lear

The Crow and The Pitcher Aesop

The Bride Comes To Yellow Sky Stephen Crane

Humpty Dumpty Lewis Carroll

Book III....Autumn

The Stag Looking Into The Water Aesop

The Mock Turtle's Story Lewis Carroll

The Floating Old Man Edward Lear

The Wood So Wild Anonymous

The Problem of Thor Bridge Arthur Conan Doyle

Wakefield Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Spring Lover and The Autumn Lover Lafcadio Hearn

Goblin Market Christina Rossetti

The Three Strangers Thomas Hardy

How Much Land Does a Man Need? Leo Tolstoy

Ali The Persian's Story of the Kurd Sharper

The Arabian Nights

A Leave-Taking Algernon Charles Swinburne

The Unquiet Grave Anonymous

Autumn John Clare

"This is The Key of the Kingdom" Anonymous

The Dong With A Luminous Nose Edward Lear

"Weep You No More, Sad Fountains" Anonymous

"Will You Walk A Little Faster?" Lewis Carroll

The Two Pots Aesop

Feathertop Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Recessional Saki

"I Loved A Lass" George Wither

"The Splendour Falls On Castle Walls"

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

"So, We'll Go No More A-Roving"

George Gordon, Lord Byron

The Dalliance of the Eagles Walt Whitman

November Robert Bridges

Drinking Song John Still

Love Will Find Out The Way Anonymous

My Cat Jeoffrey Christopher Smart

The White island Robert Herrick

Death and Cupid Aesop

"Who Has Seen The Wind?" Christina Rossetti

Book IV....Winter

The Red Shoes Hans Christian Andersen

The Signal-Man Charles Dickens

A Merry Note William Shakespeare

"Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind" William Shakespeare

The Lion of Winter William Shakespeare

Dirge in Woods Feorge Meredith

A Wintry Sonnet Christina Rossetti

Song Christina Rossetti

The Silver Swan Orlando Gibbons

Nightmare William Schwenk Gilbert

Witches' Loaves O. Henry

The Horla Guy De Maupassant

Sir Patrick Spence Anonymous

A Helen of Kirconnell Anonymous

"I Know a Little Garden-Close" William Morris

Night William Blake

Snow-Flakes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Snowstorm John Clare

The Snowstorm Ralph Waldo Emerson

London Snow Robert Bridges

Bits of Straw John Clare

The Bell-Tower Herman Melville

In The Dark E. Nesbit

The Hag Robert Herrick

A Spell John Dryden

The Old Ghost Thomas Lovell Beddoes

Sorrow Aubrey De Vere

Luke Havergal Edwin Arlington Robinson

Dirge Thomas Lovell Beddoes

The Two Spirits Percy Bysshe Shelley

The Phantom-Wooer Thomas Lovell Beddoes

The Portent Herman Melville

William Wilson Edgar Allan Poe

The Queen of Spades Alexander Pushkin

All Souls' Edith Wharton

The Carrion Crow Thomas Lovell Beddoes

Badger John Clare

The Eagle Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Mariana Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Kraken Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The Remarkable Case of Davidson's Eyes H. G. Wells

The Nose Nikolai Gogol

The Song of Triumphant Love Ivan Turgenev

The Walrus and The Carpenter Lewis Carroll

A Noiseless Patient Spider Walt Whitman

Up-Hill Christina Rossetti

Author Index

Title Index

Copyright © By Harold Bloom, LLC

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages

    This is a very nice book to read just for fun although Im not so sure about the title, i.e.,I read this book and there is no way I would consider myself a "extremely intelligent" person (: Enjoy

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