- Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human.
- New York: Riverhead Books, 1998.
Thesis: The leading idea of Bloom's fat book is the "inwardness" of Shakespeare's characters, but there's nothing about "inwardness" in his chapter on Romeo and Juliet. Bloom covers most of the topics found in most introductions to the play: lyricism, romantic love, wordplay, Mercutio, the Nurse, fate, etc. He is sometimes eloquent, but he doesn't have a very high opinion of the play and regards it as a "training ground" (103) for Shakespeare's later achievement in tragedy.
A Note: Bloom seems to contradict himself on the matter of who or what is responsible for the fate of the lovers. At one point he says, "Shakespeare stands back from assigning blame, whether to the feuding older generation, or to the lovers, or to fate, time, chance, and the cosmological contraries" (93), but he later says that "the subtle outrageousness of Shakespeare's drama is that everything is against the lovers: their families and the state, the indifference of nature, the vagaries of time, and the regressive movement of the cosmological contraries of love and strife" (102).
Bottom Line: Nothing new.