This interview with Harold Bloom is worth reading. He is rare (especially for a professor of English) in that he doesn’t talk the academic mumbo-jumbo-talk and makes very clear that he loves books, especially the best ones, and above all Shakespare. Such men are hard to find, and such men who will say in public about the corruption within English departments especially are almost impossible to find. You don’t have to agree with his interpretations of some of the great texts to have great respect for such a man; and I do. Here are a few lines, just to whet your whistle:
"Well, it’s such a complex thing. I left the English department twenty-six years ago. I just divorced them and became, as I like to put it, Professor of Absolutely Nothing. To a rather considerable extent, literary studies have been replaced by that incredible absurdity called cultural studies which, as far as I can tell, are neither cultural nor are they studies. But there has always been an arrogance, I think, of the semi-learned.
You know, the term ’philology’ originally meant indeed a love of learning—a love of the word, a love of literature. I think the more profoundly people love and understand literature, the less likely they are to be supercilious, to feel that somehow they know more than the poems, stories, novels, and epics actually know. "
"Ultimately, I feel that Shakespeare is so comprehensive and huge a consciousness that hes inclusive not just of the Western tradition. Students and visiting scholars and friends who travel, people from all over the world, have told me about productions of Shakespeare in Indonesia, Japan, Bulgaria, and various African nations by no means Anglophonic. They tell me that the audiences, even when they are not themselves highly literate, are transfixed, because they somehow believe that Shakepeare has put them, their relatives, and their friends all upon the stage."