Quotation by Harold Bloom

What is literary tradition? What is a classic? What is a canonical view of tradition? How are canons of accepted classics formed, and how are they unformed? I think that all these quite traditional questions can take one simplistic but still dialectical question as their summing up: do we choose tradition or does it choose us, and why is it necessary that a choosing take place, or a being chosen? What happens if one tries to write, or to teach, or to think, or even to read without the sense of a tradition? Why, nothing at all happens, just nothing.
Harold Bloom (B. 1930), U.S. critic. A Map of Misreading, ch. 2, "The Dialectics of Poetic Tradition," Oxford University Press (1975).
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