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Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages


Harold Bloom (View Bio)
Hardcover: Scribner, 2001; Paperback: Scribner, 2002.

Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages
Washington Post Best Seller

"Turgenev, Keats, Christina Rossetti, Gogol, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, and Aesop are among the many authors not usually associated with children that have made it into LitCrit guru Bloom's fine collection. He is striking against the dumbing down of children's literature and making the point that a good story or poem well told will coax children over the hump of unfamiliar vocabulary or idiom." — Ottawa Citizen

"This is a wonderful collection. Critic Harold Bloom based his on the conviction that children are capable of digesting much solider fare than the pap we tend to feed them. These rich and eclectic entries will bear him out.... Bloom's persuasive introduction is charged with his own pleasure in the written word. He has chosen the 41 stories and 83 poems in the collection with one criterion in mind: delight.... His aim is imaginative...and his choices are timeless." — Ottawa Citizen

"It's the voice of the many colored, tender-minded Bloom that we hear...through the wonderful introduction of his new anthology.... This beautifully produced book by a great canonist is not a smoothly superior book clinging to the sides of Mount Parnassus. It is almost a book of pre-canonical literature; certainly it has nothing of the Calvinist elected canon. It is a collection of great children's stories, many of them Victorian and Edwardian, and of the great stories compatible with a child's sensibility.... He is that rare thing in a critic — a great enthusiast — and blessed is the culture that has him." — The Australian

"Intending his marvelous new anthology for 'children of all ages,' he laments the 'dumbing down' of children's literature, and he demonstrates how delightful intelligent works can be. Most of the selections...are brilliantly chosen for reading aloud.... This book is a marvelous Christmas present — for your children and yourself." — The Weekly Standard

"Bloom has a serious agenda, which he outlines in a cantankerous, moving and revelatory introduction.... The book contains many treasures...[and] wonderful discoveries, too." — St. Louis Post–Dispatch

"A 583-page expedition into the imaginative life available to bright kids.... No one else would have thought of this kind of book and had the clout to get it published.... Bloom's anthology is full of...surprises.... Bloom will become an invisible friend to anyone who opens this book, forgets all time, and comes to see things differently." — Albuquerque Journal

"Harold Bloom is...the finest critical mind writing in English. He is a fierce virtues and fervent purpose.... He relates that he came up with the idea while working on HOW TO READ AND WHY — his superb, delightful exploration of the purposes of literature, with this core conclusion: 'The ultimate answer to the question Why Read? is that only deep, constant reading fully establishes and augments an autonomous self. Until you become yourself, what benefit can you be to others?' That drives straight to the center of today's confrontation between terrorism and legitimate, democratic government. 'The autonomous self' is precisely what the Taliban and all other primitive oppressors believe they must destroy or be destroyed by. I read Bloom's remarkable introduction a couple of days before I planned to take up the book to write this piece. I thumbed about, lingering here and there.... I told myself I would read for an hour or two, and then begin in earnest a couple of days later. I had not had dinner. It was well after midnight when I realized that I had been reading from the book's beginning, without stop, without consciousness of time. I got something to eat from the refrigerator. I went back to the book. As I read along, one of Bloom's most perceptive declarations, in his introduction, kept coming back to me. It is this: 'As we grow older, even when chronologically we remain quite young, we are likely to look back at our past selves with intense nostalgia. That nostalgia is not so much for the unlived life but for certain moments so rich in feeling that we wonder if they can come again.' By the time my eyes felt full of sand — beyond my windows, the gray sky was blushing pink — that sentiment of Bloom's came rushing back to me. Feeling and joy had borne me through the night. I went back to another of Bloom's astonishingly clean, crisp observations: 'Every lyric and tale in this volume has scrubbed the varnish of the commonplace in order to reveal hidden magic.' Can you think of a more evocative definition of the role and purpose of art? If you buy a single book this year, with a vow to read it aloud throughout the holidays, make it this one." — Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun

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