Harold Bloom Creates a Massive List of Works in The “Western Canon”: Read Many of the Books Free Online

02.-WESTERN-CANON-copy

I have little desire to rehash the politics, but the facts are plain: by the time I arrived in college as an undergraduate English major in the mid-90s, the idea of the “Western Canon” as a container of—in the words of a famous hymn—“all that’s good, and great, and true” was seriously on the wane, to put it mildly. And in many quarters of academia, mention of the name of Yale literary critic Harold Bloom provoked, at the very least, a raised eyebrow and pointed silence. Bloom’s reputation perhaps unfairly fell victim to the so-called “Canon Wars,” likely at times because of a misidentification with political philosopher Allan Bloom. That Bloom was himself no ideologue, writes Jim Sleeper; he was a close friend of Saul Bellow and “an eccentric interpreter of Enlightenment thought who led an Epicurean, quietly gay life.” Nonetheless, his fiery attack on changing academic values, The Closing of the American Mind, became a textbook of the neoconservative right.

Though Harold Bloom wished to distance himself from culture war polemics, he has unapologetically practiced what Allan Bloom preached, teaching the Canonical “great books” of literature and religion and opposing all manner of critics on the left, whom he lumps together in the phrase “the School of Resentment.” Bloom’s 1973 The Anxiety of Influence has itself exerted a major influence on literary studies, and best-selling popular works, like 1998’s Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, have kept Harold Bloom’s name in circulation even when scholarly citations of his work declined. In 1994, Bloom re-affirmed his commitment to the Canon with The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Agesa fierce sortie against his so-called “School of Resentment” adversaries and a work University of Minnesota professor Norman Fruman called a “heroically brave, formidably learned and often unbearably sad response to the present state of the humanities.” (Hear Bloom discuss the book with  Eleanor Wachtel in a 1995 CBC interview.)

The Western Canon is tightly focused on only 26 authors, but in a series of four appendices, Bloom lists the hundreds of other names he considers canonical. For all of Bloom’s ornery defensiveness, his list is surprisingly inclusive, as well as—for Fruman—surprisingly idiosyncratic. (Bloom later disavowed the list, claiming that his editor insisted on it.) Like a classical philologist, Bloom divides his Canon into four “ages” or periods: The Theocratic Age (2000 BCE-1321 CE); The Aristocratic Age (1321-1832); The Democratic Age: 1832-1900); and The Chaotic Age (20th Century). You can view the complete list here. Below, we’ve compiled a very partial, but still sizable, excerpt of texts from Bloom’s list that are available online through the University of Adelaide’s ebook library. For all of the unpopular positions he has taken over the past few decades, Bloom’s immense erudition, expansive intellect, and sincere commitment to the humanities have never been in question. As a distinguished exemplar of a fading tradition, he is an invaluable resource for students and lovers of literature.

A: “The Theocratic Age”

The Ancient Greeks

Homer (ca.800BC)
Iliad; Odyssey.
Hesiod (ca.700BC)
Works and Days; Theogony.
Sappho (ca.600BC)
Aeschylus (525 BC – 456 BC)
Oresteia; Seven Against Thebes; Prometheus Bound; Persians; Suppliant Women.
Sophocles (c. 496-c. 405 BC)
Oedipus the King; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone; Electra; Ajax; Women of Trachis; Philoctetes.
Euripides (480 or 484-406 BC)
Cyclops; Heracles; Alcestis; Hecuba; Bacchae; Orestes; Andromache; Medea; Ion; Hippolytus; Helen; Iphigenia at Aulis.
Aristophanes (ca. 446 BC – 385 BC)
The Birds; The Clouds; The Frogs; Lysistrata; The Knights; The Wasps; The Assemblywomen.
Herodotus, 485–420BCE
The Histories.
Thucydides, ca.460 BCE
The Peloponnesian Wars.
Plato, c.427-c.347 BCE
Dialogues.
Aristotle, 384–322 BCE
Poetics; Ethics.

Hellenistic Greeks

Menander, ca. 342–291 BC
The Girl from Samos.
Plutarch, 46–120
Lives; Moralia.
Aesop (620 – 560 BC)
Fables.
Petronius, c.27-66

The Romans

Terence, 195/185–159 BC
The Girl from Andros; The Eunuch; The Mother-in-Law.
Lucretius, 98?–55 BCE
The Way Things Are.
Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106–43 BCE
On the Gods.
Horace, 65-8 BCE
Odes; Epistles; Satires.
Catullus (c.84 B.C. – c.54 B.C.)
Attis and Other Poems.
Virgil (70-19 BC)
Aeneid; Eclogues; Georgics.
Ovid (43 BC – 17 AD)
Metamorphoses; The Art of Love; Heroides.
Seneca, Lucius Annaeus, ca.4 BCE–65 CE
Tragedies, particularly Medea and Hercules Furens.
Petronius, c.27-66
Satyricon.
Apuleius, c. 123/125-c. 180
The Golden Ass.

The Middle Ages: Latin, Arabic, and the Vernacular Before Dante

Augustine of Hippo, 354–430
City of God; Confessions.
Wolfram von Eschenbach, 1170–1220
Parzival.
Chrétien de Troyes, 12th cent
Yvain: The Knight of the Lion.
Beowulf (ca.800)

B: “The Aristocratic Age”

Italy

Dante (1265 – 1321)
The Divine Comedy; The New Life.
Petrarch, 1304-1374
Lyric Poems; Selections.
Giovanni Boccaccio, 1313-1375
The Decameron.
Matteo Maria Boiardo, 1440 or 41-1494.
Orlando Innamorato.
Lodovico Ariosto, 1474-1533
Orlando Furioso.
Machiavelli, Niccolò, 1469–1527
The Prince; The Mandrake, a Comedy.
Benvenuto Cellini, 1500–1571
Autobiography.
Tommaso Campanella, 1568-1639
Poems; The City of the Sun.

Spain

Miguel de Cervantes, 1547-1616
Don Quixote; Exemplary Stories.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca, 1600–1681
Life is a Dream; The Mayor of Zalamea; The Mighty Magician; The Doctor of His Own Honor.

England and Scotland

Chaucer, Geoffrey (ca.1343-1400)
The Canterbury Tales; Troilus and Criseyde.
Thomas Malory, 1430-1471
Le Morte D’Arthur.
Thomas More, 1478-1535
Utopia.
Philip Sidney, 1554-1586.
The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia; Astrophel and Stella; An Apology for Poetry.
Edmund Spenser, 1552-1599
The Faerie Queene; The Minor Poems.
Christopher Marlowe, 1564-1593
Poems and Plays.
Thomas Nashe, 1567-1601
The Unfortunate Traveller.
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616
Plays and Poems.
John Donne, 1572-1631
Poems; Sermons.
Ben Jonson, 1573-1637
Poems, Plays, and Masques.
Francis Bacon, 1561–1626
Essays.
Robert Burton, 1577–1640
The Anatomy of Melancholy.
Thomas Browne, 1605–1682
Religio Medici; Hydriotaphia, or Urne-Buriall; The Garden of Cyrus.
Thomas Hobbes, 1588–1679
Leviathan.
Herrick, Robert, 1591-1674
Poems.
Andrew Marvell, 1621-1678
Poems.
John Ford, 1586-ca.1640
‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore.
John Webster, c.1580-c.1634
The White Devil; The Duchess of Malfi.
Izaak Walton, 1593-1683
The Compleat Angler.
John Milton, 1608-1674
Paradise Lost; Paradise Regained; Lycidas, Comus, and the Minor Poems; Samson Agonistes; Areopagitica.
John Aubrey, 1626–1697
Brief Lives.
Samuel Butler, 1612-1680
Hudibras.
John Dryden, 1631-1700
Poetry and Plays; Critical Essays.
Jonathan Swift, 1667-1745
A Tale of a Tub; Gulliver’s Travels; Shorter Prose Works; Poems.
Alexander Pope, 1688-1744
Poems.
John Gay, 1685-1732
The Beggar’s Opera.
James Boswell, 1740-1795
Life of Johnson; Journals.
Samuel Johnson, 1709–1784
Works.
Edward Gibbon, 1737–1794
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Edmund Burke, 1729–1797
A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful; Reflections on the Revolution in France
Oliver Goldsmith, 1728-1774
The Vicar of Wakefield; She Stoops to Conquer; The Traveller; The Deserted Village.
Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1751–1816
The School of Scandal; The Rivals.
William Cowper, 1731-1800
Poetical Works.
Defoe, Daniel (1661?-1731)
Moll Flanders; Robinson Crusoe; A Journal of the Plague Year.
Samuel Richardson, 1689-1761.
Clarissa; Pamela; Sir Charles Grandison.
Henry Fielding, 1707-1754
Joseph Andrews; The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling.
Tobias Smollett, 1721-1771
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker; The Adventures of Roderick Random.
Laurence Sterne, 1713-1768
The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman; A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy.
Fanny Burney, 1752-1840
Evelina.

France

Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592
Essays.
Francois Rabelais, 1494?-1553?
Gargantua and Pantagruel.
Marguerite de Navarre, 1492–1549
The Heptameron.
Jean de La Fontaine, 1621-1695
Fables.
Molière, 1622-1673
The Misanthrope; Tartuffe; The School for Wives; The Learned Ladies; Don Juan; School for Husbands; Ridiculous Precieuses; The Would-Be Gentleman; The Miser; The Imaginary Invalid.
Blaise Pascal, 1623–1662
Pensées.
Rousseau, Jean–Jacques, 1712–1778
The Confessions; Émile; La Nouvelle Héloïse.
Voltaire, 1694-1778
Zadig; Candide; Letters on England; The Lisbon Earthquake.

Germany

Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1466–1536
In Praise of Folly.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749–1832
Faust, Parts One and Two; Dichtung und Wahrheit; Egmont; Elective Affinities; The Sorrows of Young Werther; Poems; Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship; Wilhelm Meister’s Years of Wandering; Italian Journey; Verse Plays; Hermann and Dorothea; Roman Elegies; Venetian Epigrams; West-Eastern Divan.
Friedrich Schiller, 1759-1805
The Robbers; Mary Stuart; Wallenstein; Don Carlos; On the Naïve and Sentimental in Literature.

C: “The Democratic Age”

Italy

Giovanni Verga, 1840-1922
Little Novels of Sicily; Mastro-Don Gesualdo; The House by the Medlar Tree; The She-Wolf and Other Stories.

France

Victor Hugo, 1802-1885
The Distance, the Shadows: Selected Poems; Les Misérables; Notre-Dame of Paris; William Shakespeare; The Toilers of the Sea; The End of Satan; God.
Gautier, Théophile, 1811–1872
Mademoiselle de Maupin; Enamels and Cameos.
Balzac, Honoré de, 1799-1850
The Girl with the Golden Eyes; Louis Lambert; The Wild Ass’s Skin; Old Goriot; Cousin Bette; A Harlot High and Low; Eugénie Grandet; Ursule Mirouet.
Stendhal, 1783-1842
On Love; The Red and the Black; The Charterhouse of Parma.
Gustave Flaubert, 1821-1880
Madame Bovary; Sentimental Education; Salammbô; A Simple Soul.
George Sand, 1804-1876
The Haunted Pool.
Charles Baudelaire, 1821-1867
Flowers of Evil; Paris Spleen.
Guy de Maupassant, 1850-1893
Selected Short Stories.
Emile Zola, 1840-1902
Germinal; L’Assommoir; Nana.

Scandinavia

Henrik Ibsen, 1828-1906
Brand; Peer Gynt; Emperor and Galilean; Hedda Gabler; The Master Builder; The Lady from the Sea; When We Dead Awaken.

Great Britain

William Blake, 1757-1827
Complete Poetry and Prose.
William Wordsworth, 1770–1850
Poems; The Prelude.
Walter Scott, 1771-1832
Waverley; The Heart of Midlothian; Redgauntlet; Old Mortality.
Jane Austen, 1775-1817
Pride and Prejudice; Emma; Mansfield Park; Persuasion.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772–1834
Poems and Prose.
Hazlitt, William, 1778-1830
Essays and Criticism.
George Byron, 1788-1824
Don Juan; P oems.
Thomas de Quincey, 1785–1859
Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Selected Prose.
Maria Edgeworth, 1767-1849
Castle Rackrent.
Elizabeth Gaskell, 1810-1865
Cranford; Mary Barton; North and South.
Charles Robert Maturin, 1782–1824
Melmoth the Wanderer.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822
Poems; A Defence of Poetry.
Mary Shelley, 1797-1851
Frankenstein.
John Keats, 1795-1821
Poems and Letters.
Robert Browning, 1812–1889
Poems; The Ring and the Book.
Charles Dickens, 1812-1870
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club; David Copperfield; The Adventures of Oliver Twist; A Tale of Two Cities; Bleak House; Hard Times; Nicholas Nickleby; Dombey and Son; Great Expectations; Martin Chuzzlewit; Christmas Stories; Little Dorrit; Our Mutual Friend; The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Alfred Tennyson, 1809-1892
Poems.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828-1882
Poems and Translations.
Matthew Arnold, 1822-1888
Poems; Essays.
Christina Georgina Rossetti, 1830-1894.
Poems.
Thomas Love Peacock, 1785–1866
Nightmare Abbey; Gryll Grange.
Thomas Carlyle, 1795–1881
Selected Prose; Sartor Resartus.
John Ruskin, 1819-1900
Modern Painters; The Stones of Venice; Unto This Last; The Queen of the Air.
John Stuart Mill, 1806–1873
On Liberty; Autobiography.
Anthony Trollope, 1815-1882
The Barsetshire Novels; The Palliser Novels; Orley Farm; The Way We Live Now.
Lewis Carroll, 1832-1898
Complete Works.
George Gissing, 1857-1903
New Grub Street.
Charlotte Bronte, 1816-1855
Jane Eyre; Villette.
Emily Bronte, 1818-1848
Poems; Wuthering Heights.
Anne Bronte, 1820-1849
William Makepeace Thackeray, 1811-1863
Vanity Fair; The History of Henry Esmond.
George Meredith, 1828-1909
Poems; The Egoist.
Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith), 1874-1936
Collected Poems; The Man Who Was Thursday.
Samuel Butler, 1835-1902
Erewhon; The Way of All Flesh.
Wilkie Collins, 1824-1889
The Moonstone; The Woman in White; No Name.
Thomson, James, 1834–1882
The City of the Dreadful Night.
Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900
Plays; The Picture of Dorian Gray; The Artist as Critic; Letters.
George Eliot, 1819-1880
Adam Bede; Silas Marner; The Mill on the Floss; Middlemarch; Daniel Deronda.
Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894
Essays; Kidnapped; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Treasure Island; The New Arabian Nights; The Master of Ballantrae; Weir of Hermiston.
William Morris, 1834-1896
Early Romances; Poems; The Earthly Paradise; The Well at the World’s End; News from Nowhere.
Bram Stoker, 1847-1912
Dracula.
George MacDonald, 1824-1905
Lilith; At the Back of the North Wind.

Germany

Jakob Grimm, 1785–1863 and Grimm, Wilhelm, 1786–1859
Fairy Tales.
Hoffmann, E. T. A. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus), 1776-1822
The Devil’s Elixir; Tales.
Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844–1900
The Birth of Tragedy; Beyond Good and Evil; On the Genealogy of Morals; The Will to Power.

Russia

Aleksandr Pushkin, 1799-1837
Complete Prose Tales; Complete Poetry; Eugene Onegin; Narrative Poems; Boris Godunov.
Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852
The Complete Tales; Dead Souls; The Government Inspector.
Mikhail Lermontov, 1814-1841
Narrative Poems; A Hero of Our Time.
Ivan Turgenev, 1818-1883
A Sportsman’s Notebook; A Month in the Country; Fathers and Sons; On the Eve; First Love.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1821-1881
Notes from the Underground; Crime and Punishment; The Idiot; The Possessed (The Devils); The Brothers Karamazov; Short Novels.
Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910
The Cossacks; War and Peace; Anna Karenina; A Confession; The Power of Darkness; Short Novels.
Anton Chekhov, 1860-1904
The Tales; The Major Plays.

The United States

Washington Irving, 1783-1859
The Sketch Book.
James Fenimore Cooper, 1789–1851.
The Deerslayers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803–1882
Nature; Essays; Representative Men; The Conduct of Life; Journals; Poems.
Emily Dickinson, 1830–1886
Complete Poems.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804-1864
The Scarlet Letter; Tales and Sketches; The Marble Faun; Notebooks.
Herman Melville, 1819-1891
Moby-Dick; The Piazza Tales; Billy Budd; Collected Poems; Clarel.
Edgar Allan Poe, 1809-1849
Poetry and Tales; Essays and Reviews; The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; Eureka.
Henry David Thoreau, 1817–1862
Walden; Poems; Essays.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807–1882
Selected Poems.
Ambrose Bierce, 1842-1913
Collected Writings.
Louisa May Alcott, 1832–1888
Little Women.
Kate Chopin, 1850-1904
The Awakening.
William Dean Howells, 1837-1920
The Rise of Silas Lapham; A Modern Instance.
Henry James, 1843-1916
The Portrait of a Lady; The Bostonians; The Princess Casamassima; The Awkward Age; Short Novels and Tales; The Ambassadors; The Wings of the Dove; The Golden Bowl
Mark Twain, 1835-1910
Complete Short Stories; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Devil’s Racetrack; Number Forty-Four: The Mysterious Stranger; Pudd’nhead Wilson; A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
William James, 1842–1910
The Varieties of Religious Experience; Pragmatism.

D: “The Chaotic Age”

France

Anatole France, 1844-1924
Penguin Island; Thaïs.
Marcel Proust, 1871-1922
Remembrance of Things Past (In Search of Lost Time).
Albert Camus, 1913-1960
The Stranger; The Plague; The Fall; The Rebel.

Great Britain and Ireland.

Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
The Collected Poems; Collected Plays; A Vision; Mythologies.
George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950
Major Critical Essays; Heartbreak House; Pygmalion; Saint Joan; Major Barbara; Back to Methuselah.
John Millington Synge, 1871-1909
Collected Plays.
George Douglas Brown, 1869-1902
The House with the Green Shutters.
Thomas Hardy, 1840-1928
The Well-Beloved; The Woodlanders; The Return of the Native; The Mayor of Casterbridge; Far From the Madding Crowd; Tess of the D’Urbervilles; Jude the Obscure; Collected Poems.
Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936
Kim; Collected Stories; Puck of Pook’s Hill; Complete Verse.
Housman, A. E., 1859-1936
Collected Poems.
Joseph Conrad, 1857-1924
Lord Jim; The Secret Agent; Nostromo; Under Western Eyes; Victory.
Ronald Firbank, 1886-1926
Five Novels.
Ford Madox Ford, 1873-1939
Parade’s End; The Good Soldier.
Saki, 1870-1916
The Short Stories.
Wells, H. G., 1866-1946
The Science Fiction Novels.
David Lindsay, 1876-1945
A Voyage to Arcturus.
Arnold Bennett, 1867–1931.
The Old Wives’ Tale.
John Galsworthy, 1867-1933
The Forsyth Saga.
Lawrence, D. H., 1885-1930
Complete Poems; Studies in Classic American Literature; Complete Short Stories; Sons and Lovers; The Rainbow; Women in Love.
Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941
Mrs. Dalloway; To the Lighthouse; Orlando: A Biography; The Waves; Between the Acts.
James Joyce, 1882-1941
Dubliners; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Ulysses; Finnegans Wake.
George Orwell, 1903-1950
Collected Essays; 1984.

Germany.

Franz Kafka, 1883–1924
Amerika; The Complete Stories; The Blue Octavo Notebook; The Trial; Diaries; The Castle; Parables, Fragments, Aphorisms.

Russia.

Maksim Gorky, 1868-1936
Reminiscences of Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Andreev; Autobiography.

Scandinavia.

Knut Hamsun, 1859-1952
Hunger; Pan.

Czech.

Karel Čapek, 1890-1938
War with the Newts; R.U.R.

Australia and New Zealand.

Miles Franklin, 1879-1954
My Brilliant Career.
Katherine Mansfield, 1888-1923
The Short Stories.

The United States.

Edith Wharton, 1862–1937
Collected Short Stories; The Age of Innocence; Ethan Frome; The House of Mirth; The Custom of the Country.
Willa Cather, 1873-1947
My Antonia; The Professor’s House; A Lost Lady.
Gertrude Stein, 1874–1946
Three Lives; The Geographical History of America; The Making of Americans; Tender Buttons.
Theodore Dreiser, 1871-1945
Sister Carrie; An American Tragedy.
Sinclair Lewis, 1885-1951
Babbitt; It Can’t Happen Here.
Eugene O’Neill, 1888-1953
Lazarus Laughed; The Iceman Cometh; Long Day’s Journey into Night.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 1896-1940
Babylon Revisited and Other Stories; The Great Gatsby; Tender is the Night.
Nathanael West, 1903-1940
Miss Lonelyhearts; A Cool Million; The Day of the Locust.

Of this last Appendix–which ends with Tony Kushner’s Angels in America and includes a great degree of diversity–Bloom writes: “I am not as confident about this list as the first three. Cultural prophecy is always a mug’s game. Not all of the works here can prove to be canonical . . . literary overpopulation is a hazard to many among them. But I have neither excluded nor included on the basis of cultural politics of any kind.” Again, the selections above are very limited. Before you ask, “what about x, y, or z!” see Bloom’s full list here. And if you still do not find authors you believe deserve inclusion in any version of the Western Canon, pick up a copy of Bloom’s book to learn more about his critical criteria.

A decent number of the texts above can also be found in our Free eBooks and Free Audio Books collections.

Related Content:

Harold Bloom Recites ‘Tea at the Palaz of Hoon’ by Wallace Stevens

Harold Bloom on the Ghastly Decline of the Humanities (and on Obama’s Poetry)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness


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  1. Rain,adustbowlstory says . . . | January 28, 2014 / 8:35 am

    Just wanted to mention that Glyn Maxwell’s book On Poetry is the best thing of that kind I’ve read in twenty years.

    I just can’t stop mentioning it to people. Sorry.

  2. Peter Hoogh says . . . | January 28, 2014 / 1:00 pm

    Erasmus of Rotterdam German..?

  3. Inferiae says . . . | January 28, 2014 / 1:32 pm

    I’d be flattering myself if I said I’d read a tenth of Bloom’s list.

    I guess I’d better get busy.

  4. tristar says . . . | January 28, 2014 / 2:37 pm

    Kafka was born in Prague (back then part of the Austrian-Hungarian Kingdom) and hence definitly no german.

  5. Hanoch says . . . | January 30, 2014 / 4:07 pm

    It is profoundly disappointing that an institution that purports to foster rigorous thought and open-minded discourse has devolved to the point where “mention of the name” of a serious scholar who fails to conform to prevailing “correct thought” provokes “raised eyebrow[s] and pointed silence.” The modern University — at least in the humanities departments — has lost its mission.

  6. Taylor says . . . | March 12, 2014 / 10:49 am

    Bloom is terrible. His entire “western cannon” includes 18 women. Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, the very first English novel, does’t even make the cut.

  7. Ganon says . . . | March 13, 2014 / 10:25 am

    I count more than 18 – Sappho, Christine de Pisan, Gaspara Stampa, Madame de Lafayette, the English translator of Robert Garnier’s Mark Antony (mentioned in the book), Fanny Burney, Jane Austen, Dorothy Wordsworth, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Marguerite de Navarre, George Sand, Maria Edgeworth, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Shelley, Christina Rossetti, Emily and Charlotte Bronte (the full list on ebooks lists Anne by mistake), George Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott… that’s 20, and Virginia Woolf hasn’t even been mentioned yet!

    You come close to saying that history – the oppression of women – is Bloom’s fault. If women had been treated as equals throughout history, there would be a great many more on this list. Apart from Behn (whom Bloom believes is fourth rate), other surprising omissions include Mary Wollstonecroft and Anne Carson (her best work was yet to come, though). Of course, there are plenty of surprising omissions of male writers – Sigmund Freud, Hans Christian Andersen, P. G. Wodehouse, etc.

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