“What makes us free? What makes me free is the capaciousness of Shakespeare’s soul. He is the knowledge of what we were and of what we have become.”
In “Falstaff: Give Me Life” by Harold Bloom
“Weird" is the word that comes to mind after having finished his take on Falstaff. We all know about his fixation on Falstaff. No problem with that. I’ve also a kin interest on Hamlet. So, what? My problem with Bloom lies on a different plane. “Weird Ideas”. That’s Bloom all over. His ideas can be interesting - and, at their crankiest (as in “A Map of Misreading”, Shakespeare: Invention of the Human and his Genius book) quite funny - but there's far too much of Bloom the frustrated bard-oracle in them, which is why they fail to stand up beyond the books in which they appear. Show him a half-decent poet and he'll construct around him a new view of human history centred on an ancient Gnostic text and full of juicy prophetic names for things already perfectly well named (e.g. "The Chaotic Age" for the 20th century). There's an element of trying to out-crazy the crazy totalising schemes of Blake or Yeats. Bloom trying to out-poet the poets, or at least match them in inspired, over-learned nuttiness.
If you're into Shakespeare, read on.