Bloom cancels class due to illness

Due to illness, professor Harold Bloom GRD ’56 will not teach the two classes he was scheduled to offer this coming semester.

English professor Leslie Brisman described Bloom as “gravely ill” in a Jan. 7 e-mail to students in Bloom’s fall seminar, “Shakespeare and the Canon: Histories, Comedies and Poems.” Bloom has been in the hospital since December.

Professor Harold Bloom speaks at a Jonathan Edwards Master’s Tea on his favorite past professors and well-known American author Philip Roth.
Eva Galvan
Professor Harold Bloom speaks at a Jonathan Edwards Master’s Tea on his favorite past professors and well-known American author Philip Roth.

According to Yale’s Online Course Information Web site, Bloom’s spring seminars “Shakespeare and the Canon: Tragedies and Romances” and “Four Twentieth-Century Poets: W. B. Yeats, Wallace Stevens, D. H. Lawrence, Hart Crane” have been canceled.

In his e-mail, Brisman told students that he would take over Bloom’s grading for the Shakespeare course. In a separate e-mail, Sterling Professor Emeritus of English Marie Borroff said she would grade final work for his other course, “Art of Reading a Poem.” Chun Ho Lai ’12, a student in Bloom’s Shakespeare course, said he was not worried about this grading arrangement.

“I don’t exactly have any concern about [the grading] in that Bloom is ill and there seems to be no other way out,” Lai said.

Lai was considering taking another course with Bloom this spring, as was Tully McLoughlin ’11. Bloom had been up-front with students in his “Art of Reading a Poem” course about the state of his health this fall, McLoughlin said, and Bloom had told students about his previous hospital stays.

“He made it clear to us in class that he had his easier and more difficult days,” McLoughlin said. “I wouldn’t say it was unexpected, but it is always a surprise and an unfortunate thing when one of your professors has to go to the hospital.”

The 79-year-old Sterling Professor of Humanities and literary critic, who has taught at Yale since 1955, also canceled classes in the fall of 2007 due to illness and in the spring of 2008 due to a fall and subsequent hospitalization.

Brisman, humanities chair Howard Bloch and humanities lecturer Jane Levin declined to comment further on Bloom’s condition or teaching plans.


  • Honor

    Perhaps it is inappropriate at this moment. Perhaps it is too late.

    But isn’t there a University award or Presidential (Woodbridge Hall) award which could be given to this great man of ideas and writing (Anxiety of Influence; Shakespeare)even at his bedside?

    A prophet is not without honor EXCEPT in his own country.

    This can be reversed or at least mitigated even now.


  • Recent Alum

    Wait, Paul Keane says something sensible that I agree with?????????? This is a first, coming from someone who reads the YDN board almost every day.

  • Strings

    Recent Alum:
    If you’re near campus (which I’m not)
    do your best to pull some strings. Carpe diem. Time is of the essence here.

  • PW

    My thoughts are with Mr. Bloom. Hope he’ll recover in company with friends and family.

  • don’t fret

    i have it on good authority dad is recovering slowly but surely. odds are he’ll be teaching again next fall. Your well-wishings are appreciated.

  • anonymous

    Any more recent news on Professor Bloom’s state of health?

  • charlesdarwin

    professor harold bloom: teach at YALE SINCE 1955.. You gotta be kidding… this man has been in in college from age 18-80…

    this is why people think these people are ivory-tower eggheads…. all you for lit/english is paper/pencil at the local Wal-Mart.

    Folks. do the Numbers, this man has been in college for about 60-SIXTY YEARS OF LIFE ON EARTH…

    English/Humanities/literature is FREE FREE FREE at the Public Library.. I can read all day 24/7 with FREE FREE FREE LIBRARY PASS.

    YES. TRUE. I can read literature for FREE FREE FREE at the library for without paying $50,000 dollar in tuition…. yes. FREE FREE FREE INSTEAD OF 50K…

    Would someone tell professor harold bloom this at the Hospital.. This man has been in college for 60-years Now. Time to get a real-job at taco-bell wal-mart. costco.

    New Haven, Conn has the # 4 (fourth) highest crime rate in USA.. .All these ivory-tower need a good mugging on the streets. Time to get a real-job at Taco-Bell