NEW YORK — Harold Bloom, the eminent critic and Yale professor whose seminal “The Anxiety of Influence” and melancholy regard for literature’s old masters made him a popular author and standard-bearer of Western civilization amid modern trends, died Monday at age 89.
Bloom’s wife, Jeanne, said that he had been failing health, although he continued to write books and was teaching as recently as last week. Yale says Bloom died at a New Haven, Connecticut, hospital.
Bloom wrote more than 20 books and prided himself on making scholarly topics accessible to the general reader. Although he frequently bemoaned the decline of literary standards, he was as well placed as a contemporary critic could hope to be. He appeared on best-seller lists with such works as “The Western Canon” and “The Book of J,” was a guest on “Good Morning America” and other programs and was a National Book Award finalist and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A readers’ poll commissioned by the Modern Library ranked “The Western Canon” at No. 58 on a list of the 20th century’s best nonfiction English-language books.