Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Bloom on Bloom

From Harold Bloom's The Anatomy of Influence (2011), p. 249:
"Naming" (as in Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin) is closer to the real concerns of literature. I am moved here by my own splendid name of "Bloom," particularly since my personal favorite among Whitman's poems is "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd." Charmed as I also am by Stevensian derivatives ("stopped / In the door-yard by his own capacious bloom" and "Our bloom is gone. We are the fruit thereof"), it seems to me the most literary of names, though a price is paid. Whenever I teach Joyce's Ulysses I refer to the hero as Poldy, since my name has been confiscated--for a time. I never feel that my name comes from the outside. In the cold April in which I write any snatch of fresh bloom cheers me. There is little logic to a self-delighting name, but I gasp when told this is a creation by catastrophe.

What is your personal experience? Has your name been 'confiscated'?

[More from this book.]

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