Let’s pretend I had a lot of homework to do this weekend, say, a three hundred page novel about a trannie communist, the rest of that godawful book I mentioned in a previous post, an article called "I am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing across Sexualities" and starting a paper or two.
So how would I spend a majority of my time on Friday and Saturday?
Reading Harold Bloom, of course. Almost two thousand pages of him.
I suppose I brought this upon myself. Being a GLBT minor, and taking classes like Identity in a Pre-Stonewall America and Race and Sexuality in 20th C American Literature, opens me up to all sorts of whiny "EarthMama" angry lesbian diatribes. But I'm talking about all of my literature classes, not just the ones for GLBT credit.
Which is why I read Harold Bloom, probably the most important literary critic of our time. One of Harold Bloom’s principle philosophies (to date, he has written 21 books and over 500 critical essays, and I make absolutely no claim to be familiar with the majority) is that literature, especially in the university setting, has become inundated by the isms: Feminism, Marxism, Deconstruction, Race-Relations, Neo-Historicism, post-moderism, et all. Bloom also argues vehemently against Foucault’s (idiotic) insistence of the death of the author. But that’s not really the point.
My argument is that I really like dead white guys, and I’m sick of people reclaiming the Canon. Everything I read nowadays is by ‘afrikanamerikan’ women of color, transsexual Asians, Latina “EarthMamas” and Costa-Rican prostitutes.
Barring any sort of amazing scheduling for next semester, I will graduate from a prestigious university (rated 18th in the world) with a degree in English and I will have never read the following people: Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Jane Austen, Stephen Crane, the Brontes, Wallace Stevens, Thomas Mann, Henry James, Flannery O’Conner, Ralph Ellison, Longfellow, the list goes on. Add to that list the people who I have read on my own, and not through school; Whitman, George Eliot, Yeats, Iris Murdoch, Gertrude Stein, Elizabeth Bishop, Shaw, Thomas Hardy, Forester, James Joyce, John Updike, and Tony Kushner. (Being a English major, I'm limited to only American and English liturature, and so I've resigned to never studying Dostoevsky, Rimbaud, Montaigne, Dante, Ibsen or Chekov. At least not until grad school.)
I have, however, read Zami: a Biomythology twice. I will have read three books by Minnie Bruce Pratt. I will have read Indian coming out stories, bad, bad fiction, Chicana whining, and writings by radical Lesbians of color.
Which is why I cling to Harold Bloom so much, the great champion of the classical Canon. Sure, it's a bit outdated, just like Harold Bloom (an aging, bumbling English professor too set in his ways to change). But I agree with him that literature is being overrun by 'cultural studies,' 'minority reclamation' and 'political' works. I want the classics. I want to cleanse my pallet from the blind, African-American Lesbians (Zami) and the half-Chicana biracial "EarthMamas" (Cherrie Morraga). I want good shit. I want the classics. I want the dead white guys.
Of course, if they’re cute and alive, I want them, too.