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The Bright Book of Life

Fifty-Two Novels to Read and Re-Read


Harold Bloom (View Bio)
Hardcover: Alfred A. Knopf, 2020.

The Bright Book of Life

“The novel is the one bright book of life. Books are not life. They are only tremulations on the ether. But the novel as a tremulation can make the whole man alive tremble. Which is more than poetry, philosophy, science, or any other book-tremulation can do.”—D.H. Lawrence, “Why the Novel Matters”

In his first book devoted exclusively to narrative fiction, America's most original and controversial literary critic and legendary Yale professor writes trenchantly about fifty-two masterworks spanning the Western tradition.

Perhaps no other literary critic but Harold Bloom could—or would—undertake a project of this immensity, and certainly no other critic could bring to it the extraordinary knowledge, understanding, and insight that are the hallmark of Bloom's every book. Ranging across centuries and continents, this final book of his career, gives us the inimitable critic on Don Quixote and Book of Numbers; Wuthering Heights and Absalom, Absalom; Les Miserables and Blood Meridian; Vanity Fair and Invisible Man; The Captain's Daughter and The Reef. He writes about works by Austen, Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoy, James, Conrad, Lawrence, Wolff, Le Guin, Sebald, and many more. Whether you have already read these books, or intend to, or simply care about the importance and power of fiction, Harold Bloom serves as an unparalleled guide through the pages of these 52 masterpieces of the genre.

"Though this bright book of literary commentary is iconic, often controversial literary critic Bloom's final work, it's still a first for him in its strict focus on narrative fiction. It swoops through 52 masterpieces from Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man." — Library Journal