The book The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry presents a detailed model for understanding poets’ artistic styles and their precursors. Since its publication in 1973, it has remained a source of argument or debate among literature students and educators. This short essay gives a personal reflection of this book by Harold Bloom and its effects on nature.
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The thesis of the selected book is that aspiring authors tend to experience psychological struggle as they try to overcome the nervousness associated with the influence their literary antecedents pose. This means that most of the literary works or texts tend to be the misreading of their predecessors. This proposition has triggered criticism from theorists, poets, and researchers (Bloom 41). Nonetheless, the author gives examples of Marlowe and Shakespeare to describe how earlier works tend to influence future thoughts and publications.
The reader understands that every great poet will remain anxious after realizing that someone presented the same ideas in a better manner before them. This acknowledgment is what triggers a process of misreading, thereby resulting in dehumanization. The outstanding observation is that the text explains how the concept of influence affects authors and poets, thereby being in a position to befriend playwrights they have never met. Through the adoption and implementation of Bloom’s ideas, it can be possible for many people to expand their abilities and literary tastes (Bloom 76). They will challenge their beliefs and those of their counterparts to learn something new.
However, the concepts the author presents are challengeable since literature ought to be a continuous conversation. This means that any form of anxiety should not affect authors’ ability to create new content while, at the same time, learn from their predecessors. Through such an approach, scholars can retain their innocence and find additional sources of inspiration. Successful poets can consider the ideas gained from past writers to become more experimental with the identified concepts (Bloom 103). Despite these critical issues, every author can apply a positive attitude to Bloom’s text in an attempt to develop a new philosophy for becoming visionary.
Effects on Nature
The anxiety of influence theory described in the selected book can be applied to influence nature. This is true since human beings are expected to act in a specific manner depending on their social values and attributes. They can look back at history and appreciate how their ancestors preserved such practices or conserved the environment. This can become a source of meditation or inspiration. As described above, poets can focus on their concepts and values in an attempt to protect the natural world (Bloom 92). After looking at the successes and achievements of past scholars, authors can implement different ideas to transform human relations with the environment. Those who want to emerge successfully can scrutinize their precursors in the field of literature and utilize them to make the world a better place for all. This practice will result in successful poetry or work of art.
The above discussion has indicated that the selected book has specific strengths and weaknesses that readers should take seriously. The fact is that it presents a valid argument for engaging in literary criticism. It ties poets to an astronomical force emerging from past professionals and personal antecedents. Those who utilize their styles effectively will transform the natural environment and eventually become more creative.
Bloom, Harold. The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. 2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 1997.
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