Harold Bloom Fallen Angels

ISBN 13: 9780300123487

Fallen Angels

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9780300123487: Fallen Angels

In this lovely gift book published for the holiday season, Harold Bloom again combines his lifelong interests in religion and literature. He begins by observing our present-day obsession with angels, which reached its greatest intensity as the current millennium approached. For the most part, these popular angels are banal, even insipid. Bloom is especially concerned with a particular subspecies of angels: fallen angels.  He proceeds to examine representations of fallen angels from Zoroastrian texts and the Bible to Milton’s Paradise Lost to Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, arguing that familiarity with this rich literary tradition improves our reading and spiritual lives. Bloom’s text is accompanied by more than a dozen original watercolors, line drawings, and illuminated letters by award-winning artist Mark Podwal.

 

Every angel is terrifying, Rilke wrote. For Bloom, too, this is true in one sense, since he maintains that all angels are fallen angels. The image of Satan, the greatest of fallen angels, retains the ability to fascinate and frighten us, he argues, because we share a close kinship with him. Indeed, from a human perspective, we must agree that we are fallen angels. Fallenness is ultimately a human condition: the recognition of our own mortality. Throughout world literature angels have always served as metaphors for death. We may take consolation, however, in our double awareness that angels also represent love and the celebration of human possibilities.

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From the Author:

A Conversation with Harold Bloom

 

Q: When you say that all angels are, in effect, fallen angels, you mean that all representations of angels contain the seeds of our awareness of our mortality?

A: Yes. I would complement that observation with the famous dispute as to the name and nature of the person with whom Jacob wrestles at Peniel all night long. In Christian tradition, this being is taken as God himself. The Hebrew text clearly says some man” struggled with Jacob. In many Talmudic interpretations, that individual, who is one of the Elohim or divine beings, is identified as the angel of death. The doubleness of the word Elohim, which can be taken as either an angel or as a substitute name for the forbidden Yahweh, accounts for part of the disagreement.

 

Q: How do you respond to those who would fault you for what is a literary approach to in some instances sacred books?

A: All distinctions between the literary and theological seem to me invalid. To say that some literature is sacred and some secular I regard as a purely political distinction.

 

Q: What if you could name but one or two are the most powerful representations of fallen angels in world literature?

A: The most powerful representation is certainly the Satan of Paradise Lost. And yet he himself is deeply influenced by Shakespeare’s Iago, Macbeth, and Hamlet. It may seem yet another Bloomian eccentricity, but I think the greatest representation of a fallen angel is Hamlet.

 

Q: Tell me about the artwork in Fallen Angels

A: Mark is my collaborator in this project. I have long admired his illustrations. At first I thought they had a touch of Chagall but there is a different kind of exuberance in Podwal’s illuminations, a word I choose from William Blake’s description of his own paintings and engravings. I find in Mark’s vision a wonderful fusion of intense singularity and receptivity toward the Jewish visual tradition.

 

 

About the Author:

Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University, is the author of twenty-eight books. His best-known publications include his New York Times best-sellers The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and The Book of J, as well as his pioneering studies A Visionary Company and The Anxiety of Influence. He is a MacArthur Prize Fellow, a member of the Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees.

Mark Podwal is the author of ten books and has illustrated more than eighteen others, including five by Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. His works are represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, and many others.

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Mark Podwal (illustrator). Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In this lovely gift book published for the holiday season, Harold Bloom again combines his lifelong interests in religion and literature. He begins by observing our present-day obsession with angels, which reached its greatest intensity as the current millennium approached. For the most part, these popular angels are banal, even insipid. Bloom is especially concerned with a particular subspecies of angels: fallen angels. He proceeds to examine representations of fallen angels from Zoroastrian texts and the Bible to Milton s Paradise Lost to Tony Kushner s Angels in America, arguing that familiarity with this rich literary tradition improves our reading and spiritual lives. Bloom s text is accompanied by more than a dozen original watercolors, line drawings, and illuminated letters by award-winning artist Mark Podwal. Every angel is terrifying, Rilke wrote. For Bloom, too, this is true in one sense, since he maintains that all angels are fallen angels. The image of Satan, the greatest of fallen angels, retains the ability to fascinate and frighten us, he argues, because we share a close kinship with him. Indeed, from a human perspective, we must agree that we are fallen angels. Fallenness is ultimately a human condition: the recognition of our own mortality. Throughout world literature angels have always served as metaphors for death. We may take consolation, however, in our double awareness that angels also represent love and the celebration of human possibilities. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780300123487

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Book Description Yale University Press, United States, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Mark Podwal (illustrator). Language: English . Brand New Book. In this lovely gift book published for the holiday season, Harold Bloom again combines his lifelong interests in religion and literature. He begins by observing our present-day obsession with angels, which reached its greatest intensity as the current millennium approached. For the most part, these popular angels are banal, even insipid. Bloom is especially concerned with a particular subspecies of angels: fallen angels. He proceeds to examine representations of fallen angels from Zoroastrian texts and the Bible to Milton s Paradise Lost to Tony Kushner s Angels in America, arguing that familiarity with this rich literary tradition improves our reading and spiritual lives. Bloom s text is accompanied by more than a dozen original watercolors, line drawings, and illuminated letters by award-winning artist Mark Podwal. Every angel is terrifying, Rilke wrote. For Bloom, too, this is true in one sense, since he maintains that all angels are fallen angels. The image of Satan, the greatest of fallen angels, retains the ability to fascinate and frighten us, he argues, because we share a close kinship with him. Indeed, from a human perspective, we must agree that we are fallen angels. Fallenness is ultimately a human condition: the recognition of our own mortality. Throughout world literature angels have always served as metaphors for death. We may take consolation, however, in our double awareness that angels also represent love and the celebration of human possibilities. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9780300123487

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