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.

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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.