Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

His Heavy, Boneless Hand Was Hot on My Thigh

In the new issue of the New Republic, James Woods (of Videodrome fame?) dubs Harold Bloom "America's best-known man of letters." That's high praise, and it probably only obtains if you very strictly define "man of letters." In any event, it reminded me of the following anecdote about Bloom.

Two years ago, in New York magazine, Naomi Wolf wrote a dubious, nasty, and ridiculously written character assassination of Bloom. In it, she accused him of getting her drunk at a dinner party when she was an undergraduate, then (in a phrase that, even two years later, is still a running joke among my friends) "the next thing I knew, his heavy, boneless hand was hot on my thigh." The only bit of verisimilitude in the piece is her account of Bloom's delicious reaction. Her prose is so hilariously purple that I will include her whole rendition of the scene:

I lurched away. “This is not what I meant,” I stammered. The whole thing had suddenly taken on the quality of a bad horror film. The floor spun. By now my back was against the sink, which was as far away as I could get. He moved toward me. I turned away from him toward the sink and found myself vomiting. Bloom disappeared.

When he reemerged—from the bedroom with his coat—a moment later, I was still frozen, my back against the sink. He said: “You are a deeply troubled girl.” Then he went to the table, took the rest of his sherry, corked the bottle, and left.

This New York article became something of a literary scandal (though it's hard to see how it helped Wolf, who comes off as, indeed, deeply troubled), and it prompted the following snarky response in the Spectator. Because not enough people read that followup, I decided to repost it.

Harold Bloom: America's most adorable bullfrog?

The Schulman piece is funny and short and so nicely written that I don't want to disturb its integrity by excerpting it, but I will just say that it involves a Tadzio moment the author had with Bloom in the 80s.

>Tags: culture, harold bloom, naomi+wolf, literature


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