Finalmente, alguém resolveu desmarcar Harold Bloom pelo o que ele é: um fanfarrão da crítica literária. Em uma resenha saborosa de “The Anatomy of Influence”, o último petardo deste Falstaff da literatura (com direito a autoreferência no título, mesclada à piscadela de olho ao clássico de Robert Burton), William Deresiewicz diz que Bloom não tem nada de novo a dizer:
Still, he really is a brilliant critic—and I say this in full cognizance of the fact that “brilliant” is the most overused word in the academy. (The most underused, of course, is “boring.”) Meeting Bloom in 1965, Alfred Kazin, fifteen years his senior and long established as one of the nation’s leading critical authorities, was hit by a wave of intellectual insecurity: “Bloom … formidable to me, leaves me feeling like I know nothing and have read nothing of the English Romantics … Fascinatingly gifted and fascinatingly complex man.” But Kurtz is brilliant, too. What befalls Conrad’s creation is what’s befallen Bloom in recent years. Megalomaniacal excess, unchecked by external restraint—“You don’t talk with that man,” says his acolyte of Kurtz, “you listen to him”; “No one edits,” says Bloom of himself, “I edit. I refuse to be edited”—has collapsed into a kind of emptiness. “The shade of the original Kurtz frequented the bedside of the hollow sham”: the “public Bloom” of the last two decades, the celebrity critic who pronounces on everything under the sun, is basically a Wizard of Oz routine. “Kurtz discoursed. A voice! a voice! It rang deep to the very last”: Bloom continues publishing with superhuman frequency, but he stopped saying anything new a long time ago.
Para alguns, é ler para crer.