English students in their final year at Yale may be disappointed to find out that the department’s most famous critic has canceled his spring classes, after sitting out the fall semester as well.
Sterling Professor of Humanities and literary and religious critic Harold Bloom, who has taught at Yale since 1955, canceled the two courses he was scheduled to teach this spring, in order to recover from a December fall and subsequent hospitalization. But Bloom told the News this week that he will return for the 2008 fall semester.
Although he is recovering well, English Department chair Langdon Hammer said Bloom is still unable to teach this semester.
“He looks forward to teaching next year,” Hammer said.
Bloom was scheduled to teach “Shakespeare and the Canon: Tragedies and Romances” and “Four Twentieth Century Poets” this semester. The classes he cancelled in the fall included, “Shakespeare and the Canon: Histories, Comedies, and Poems” and “Art of Reading a Poem.” Hammer said the fall cancellations were due to an illness as well as “a number of things,” on which he declined to elaborate.
English major Sophia Lear ’08 has taken two seminars with Bloom, who is now her senior essay adviser. Since he is not on campus this semester, Lear said she visits the professor each week at his home in East Rock.
“As I understand it, he’s doing well now,” Lear said.
Kenneth Dikas ’08, a recent alum who took a class with Bloom in spring 2007, said he was disappointed to hear of the professor’s absence in the fall semester, Dikas’ last at the University. Dikas graduated this December because he previously took time off.
Bloom’s colleagues in the English department said the professor’s absence is felt.
“He is obviously missed as a teacher, and we wish he were able to teach the courses he’d planned,” said Amy Hungerford, the English Department’s Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies.
But Ashley Alvarez ’10 said she can wait until the fall semester to see for herself whether Bloom and his courses live up to the hype.
“When it comes down to it … Bloom’s not the only amazing professor in the department,” Alvarez said. “I don’t feel robbed of his presence.”
Books by Bloom include “The Western Canon,” a survey of the major literary works of post-Roman Europe, and “Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human,” a collection of analyses of each of Shakespeare’s 38 plays.