January 7th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Ailing Bloom will not teach spring semester

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 an e-mail to students in one of Bloom’s fall courses. Bloom has been in the hospital since December.

According to Yale’s Online Course Information, Bloom’s 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 cancelled.

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

Check back soon for further updates.

  • Alex

    I just called the hospital and they informed me that his condition is stable. Thought I’d share.

  • Apres Bloom, Quoi?

    “Can we conceive of ourselves without Shakespeare?”, Harold Bloom writes.

    Can Yale conceive of itself without Harold Bloom?

    It has tried to do so by benign neglect and intransigent equivocation when it comes to Bloom’s “place” not simply in the history of Yale but in Western intellectual thought.

    His response? To bequeath his library to St. Joseph’s College in Vermont, instead of to Yale.

    Best wishes for a swift recovery Maestro.

    Paul Keane


  • Timothy Ellison

    Harold Bloom is one of the most beloved and important intellectual figures on our campus. I was in his Shakespeare course this semester and I feel so lucky to have been around his mind for thirteen weeks. I hope he recovers.

  • Recent Alum

    Departing tenured Yale faculty: Vincent Scully, Harold Bloom.

    Newly tenured Yale faculty: Laurie Santos

    Need I say more?

  • JackNH

    Bloom should have been fired long ago, once it was clear he can’t keep his hands off of women students. I din’t care how smart or famous he is, he’s a creep.

  • Laurie Santos

    Recent Alum – What’s with all the Laurie Santos hating? She is a very respected psychologist (Just do a Google search – very well known). I took one of her classes – sex evolution and human nature – and honestly believe it is the most valuable science class a non-science major can take at Yale. You should also consider that she only teaches sex evolution and human nature one semester every two years, and spends the rest of her time running a lab and teaching graduate level courses.

  • Hieronymus

    Paul Keane, with no direct experience of the man, can conceive of Yale College neither with nor without Harold Bloom.

    But enough of that – even reading this gives me shivers and tears. Bloom is the last obvious bastion of Old Yale; without the anchor of his intellect, it is not unlikely that Yale will be truly lost at sea.

  • Sure…

    …start with a comment that makes sense, Wingnut.

  • Goldie ’08

    Is that a photo of Bloom when he was only 80?

  • Townie by Birth



    This won’t satisfy your elitism, but I used to run into HB in the same hamburger joint on Broadway (near Cutler’s Records) at the same time almost every week for all my nine years around Yale.

    Yale COLLEGE is not the Yale to which I refer either in my post here or in http://theantiyale.blogspot.com

    I refer to the Yale of research, the Yale of intellectual debate, the Yale of ideas, the Yale of academic leadership. It is that intangible “Yale” which has simultaneously underwritten Bloom and ignored him.

    Unfortunately, the tangible Yale College of gothic architecture and football colliseum has been a kind of playground for the privileged until recent admirable egalitarian efforts by Mr. Levin’s regime, especially need-blind admissions.

    The “undergraduate” experience may be Hieronymus’s concept of “Yale” but it is not mine.

    But then, I am a townie–by birth.

  • @JackNH

    Your comment is repugnant. Any rumors about Bloom’s supposed lechery are just that: rumors. If you had ever actually studied with him you would know what a great teacher and kind man he is, and that he is a perfect gentleman when interacting with both male and female students. It’s sickening that such awful people with wild imaginations are capable of ruining a good man’s reputation.

  • View from New Bloomusalem

    I shall not look upon his like again.

  • @Townie

    quit making the YDN a forum to plug your blog.

    bloom is a wonderful teacher and a warm soul. let’s not speak ill of him at this time.

  • BR 2010

    Recent Alum- Is your problem that her first name is Laurie or that her last name is Santos? She does excellent, highly respected work in the field of comparative psychology. Don’t write her off until you learn something about her.

    As for Bloom, he will be missed when he does retire–not for the quality of his teaching (which is lackluster), but for his intellect and his influence on all our work, particularly that of those of us who study literature. However, he has long claimed that he will never retire, and it’s entirely possible that he will be back with us next semester. Let’s hope.

  • bloom is the man

    bloom is awesome. people who spread nasty rumors about him are sick.

  • @hieronymous

    We still have D.Kagan… but not for long, the way things are going.

  • Hold Your Tongue


    Can you READ English ” Best wishes for a swift recovery Maestro” (#2)

    My posts only praise Bloom. Hold your tongue.

  • anonymous

    i’m sure that the brilliant paul fry can step in. bp

  • Yale grad from 1970s

    Harold Bloom, Leslie Brisman, Richard Sewall, Alvin Kernan, Marie Boroff, David Thorburn, Bruce Stoval, Ed Gordon -wonderful teachers and scholars who made the English major so vital and exciting in the 70s. I’m sure it’s exceptional today as well, and I envy the current students of Brisman, who I’m sure is still inspiring and kind.

  • Without honors

    It is generous and kind of # 19 and others to revere their teachers at Yale.

    But what Yale has chosen to ignore is that Bloom is a titan.

    He has changed Western thought.

    His “the Anxiety of Influence” alone qualifies him thus.

    But his Shakespeare rather than Freud as the uncoverer of the unconscious insight brings a dignity and importance to literature which is trivialized in the post-modern, politically correct epoch which envelopes us.

    Bloom has shaped our world in ways which have no peer at Yale.

    It is Yale’s disgrace that it has not honored him as such.

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

  • P.S. to Without Honors

    It is entirely possible that I might be incorrect in my previous “Without Honors” post: Perhaps Yale HAS tried to honor Bloom and he has politely refused.

    After all, he sees his mission at Yale as “the classroom”. He sees his mission in the world as analysis.

    Discoving if Yale has been attentive and politely rejected might be an interesting article for YDN.

    And if I was correct and Yale HAS been the country which has NOT honored its prophet: It is not too late.

    Not yet.


  • Former Student

    Professor Bloom is one of the most brilliant professors I have had the honor the meet. His thoughts are really beyond the realm of normal and even Yale-level analysis and introspection. I have taken Shakespeare classes growing up but his teaching alone was able to bring to life the characters. His understanding of the wit behind the lines really brought to life the bard’s works. To be able to hear him teach was an honour, and to have tea with him and his wife was a privilege. Let’s all pray for his speedy recovery.

  • Ha!


    Bloom does not look kindly AT ALL on DIV… Just so you know.

  • Yale ’08

    Yale’s English department has always been one of its greatest assets, at least since I was an undergrad. Where departments like polisci have become mired in methodological obsessions, the English department has been much more interested in the intellectual art of analyzing ideas.

    The department has other (budding) giants: Sara Suleri Goodyear and Elizabeth Alexander. And I miss the energy of David Krasner, who I believe has retired.

  • Neither do I !

    # 23:
    Haven’t you caught on yet? Neither do I!
    Note: Bloom lists The Book of Mormon as one of the 300 great books he includes in his Western Canon. This baffles me.

    On the other hand, Bloom’s impact on Western intellectual thought has been so enormous, that I repeat my appeal from another post again here:

    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.


  • Kevin Quinn

    Professor Bloom is, to paraphrase Falstaff, is not only thoughtful, but the cause of thought in others. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, so, like the man from Shropshire, he may soon resume fighting against the darkness….

    A Common Reader
    SUNY Oneonta ’84

  • charlesdarwin

    professor harold bloom: teach at YALE SINCE 1955.. You gotta be kidding… this man has been in 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

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