Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Allan Bloom  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: September 14, 1930 in Indianapolis, Indiana

Sites:


Illinois Connection

At the age of 16 Allan and his family moved to Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Allan Bloom was a lecturer in Liberal Arts at the University of Chicago from 1955-1960. In 1979 he returned to the University of Chicago as professor of philosophy and political science with the Committee on Social Thought and the College until 1992.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Shakespeare's Politics
ISBN: 0226060411

University of Chicago Press. 1996

Taking the classical view that the political shapes man's consciousness, Allan Bloom considers Shakespeare as a profoundly political Renaissance dramatist. He aims to recover Shakespeare's ideas and beliefs and to make his work once again a recognized source for the serious study of moral and political problems.

In essays looking at Julius Caesar, Othello, and The Merchant of Venice, Bloom shows how Shakespeare presents a picture of man that does not assume privileged access for only literary criticism. With this claim, he argues that political philosophy offers a comprehensive framework within which the problems of the Shakespearean heroes can be viewed. In short, he argues that Shakespeare was an eminently political author. Also included is an essay by Harry V. Jaffa on the limits of politics in King Lear.

"A very good book indeed . . . one which can be recommended to all who are interested in Shakespeare." —G. P. V. Akrigg

"This series of essays reminded me of the scope and depth of Shakespeare's original vision. One is left with the impression that Shakespeare really had figured out the answers to some important questions many of us no longer even know to ask."-Peter A. Thiel, CEO, PayPal, Wall Street Journal

Allan Bloom was the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor on the Committee on Social Thought and the co-director of the John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy at the University of Chicago. Harry V. Jaffa is professor emeritus at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate School.

Closing of the American Mind
ISBN: 0613185110

Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval. 1988

The brilliant, controversial, bestselling critique of American culture that “hits with the approximate force and effect of electroshock therapy” (The New York Times)—now featuring a new afterword by Andrew Ferguson in a twenty-fifth anniversary edition.

THE BRILLIANT AND CONTROVERSIAL CRITIQUE OF AMERICAN CULTURE WITH NEARLY A MILLION COPIES IN PRINT

In 1987, eminent political philosopher Allan Bloom published The Closing of the American Mind, an appraisal of contemporary America that “hits with the approximate force and effect of electroshock therapy” (The New York Times) and has not only been vindicated, but has also become more urgent today. In clear, spirited prose, Bloom argues that the social and political crises of contemporary America are part of a larger intellectual crisis: the result of a dangerous narrowing of curiosity and exploration by the university elites.

Now, in this twenty-fifth anniversary edition, acclaimed author and journalist Andrew Ferguson contributes a new essay that describes why Bloom’s argument caused such a furor at publication and why our culture so deeply resists its truths today.

Giants and Dwarfs : Essays 1960-1990
ISBN: 0671747266

Touchstone Books. 1991

A volume of wide-ranging essays deals with contemporary politics, modern thinkers, and today's universities, and examines works by Plato, Shakespeare, Swift, and Rousseau

Love and Friendship
ISBN: 0671891200

Simon & Schuster. 1994

Argues that basic human connections--love and friendship--are withering away, and asserts that humans' impoverished feelings are rooted in an impoverished language of love

Shakespeare on Love and Friendship
ISBN: 0226060454

University of Chicago Press. 2000

"No one can make us love love as much as Shakespeare, and no one can make us despair of it as effectively as he does." William Shakespeare is the only classical author to remain widely popular—not only in America but throughout the world—and Allan Bloom argues that this is because no other writer holds up a truer mirror to human nature. Unlike the Romantics and other moderns, Shakespeare has no project for the betterment or salvation of mankind—his poetry simply gives us eyes to see what is there. In particular, we see the full variety of erotic connections, from the "star-crossed" devotions of Romeo and Juliet to the failed romance of Troilus and Cressida to the problematic friendship of Falstaff and Hal.

This volume includes essays on five plays, Romeo and Juliet, Anthony and Cleopatra, Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and The Winter's Tale, and within these Bloom meditates on Shakespeare's work as a whole. He also draws on his formidable knowledge of Plato, Rousseau, and others to bring both ancients and moderns into the conversation. The result is a truly synoptic treatment of eros—not only a philosophical reflection on Shakespeare, but a survey of the human spirit and its tendency to seek what Bloom calls the "connectedness" of love and friendship.

These highly original interpretations of the plays convey a deep respect for their author and a deep conviction that we still have much to learn from him. In Bloom's view, we live in a love-impoverished age

he asks us to turn once more to Shakespeare because the playwright gives us a rich version of what is permanent in human nature without sharing our contemporary assumptions about erotic love.

"Provocative and illuminating." —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

"A brilliant analysis of the erotic ugliness and the balancing erotic grace of The Winter's Tale . . . and Bloom makes more sense of [Measure for Measure] than anyone else I have read." —A. S. Byatt, Washington Post Book World

At his death in 1992, Allan Bloom was the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including Shakespeare's Politics (with Harry V. Jaffa) and The Closing of the American Mind.


Awards

-- Prix Jean-Jacques Rousseau from City of Geneva, 1987, for The Closing of the American Mind.