My conribution to “The Salt Companion to Harold Bloom” (see separate blog
entry, also for today) is called ‘On the Stone Raft: Harold Bloom in
Catalonia and Portugal” (pp. 149-169)and concerns Bloom’s interest in
Catalan and Portuguese literature (in the latter case, especially José
Saramago) and the reception of his work in the corresponding language areas.

The full text is on-line at:

Here is am extract:

In 1986, José Saramago – the Portuguese Nobel laureate whom the American
critic Harold
Bloom believes is the greatest living novelist – wrote ‘A Jangada de Pedra’
(‘The Stone Raft’), a magic-realist fiction in which the Iberian peninsula
breaks away from Europe and drifts out into the Atlantic, until it halts at
a location off the Azores, halfway to North America. More recently, the
Yale Professor of Humanities and author of ‘The Western Canon’ and
‘Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human’ has paid significant literary
visits to the Iberian peninsula – Portugal in May 2001, Barcelona in May
2002 – and has both times been welcomed by a reception considerably warmer
than he would be likely to find in his home country, where the antagonisms
persisting between him and much of the university
establishment are notorious. Indeed, Bloom’s trajectory in Portugal and
Catalonia conjures up images of the septuagenarian critic standing on the
‘stone raft’, a lone mariner facing the hostile sea-spray.


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