We at Infobase are deeply saddened by the loss of Professor Harold Bloom, an accomplished literary scholar and longtime colleague and friend, at the age of 89. Our hearts go out to his wife, Jeanne, and his sons.
Born in New York City in 1930 and educated at Cornell and Yale universities, Professor Bloom was an original mind and provocative presence on the international literary scene. A prolific author as well as a voracious reader and lover of great literature, he authored more than 40 books; wrote hundreds of articles, reviews, and editorial introductions; and edited hundreds of scholarly volumes.
He also received numerous prestigious awards and honors, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism in 1999. Commonweal Magazine once referred to Bloom as “our era’s Samuel Johnson,” and The New York Review of Books called him “the indispensable critic.”
In 1984 he embarked upon a project with Chelsea House Publishers to do nothing less than encompass the entire canon of Western literature in a series of reference books. During the next 35 years, Bloom edited and oversaw the publication of more than 1,000 books, on authors ranging from Sophocles and Shakespeare to Alice Munro and Philip Roth. His writing was always penetrating and his enthusiasm irresistible. He persuaded countless readers to return to the works of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Hart Crane, Ralph Ellison, and so many others.
In 2005, when Infobase acquired Chelsea House Publishers and transformed the Chelsea House project into a multimedia database of literary reference, Professor Bloom was at first wary and then enchanted. “Up to the end, his advice was astute, heartfelt, and delivered with both humor and geniality. We at Infobase could not have asked for a better partner,” said Jeff Soloway, Executive Editor for Literature at Infobase.
Professor Bloom’s publications with Infobase make up the backbone of the company’s Bloom’s Literature database, which contains overviews of the lives of great authors and literary criticism of their works, as well as full-length videos of classic plays, thousands of full-text poems, more than 10,000 essay topics, a comprehensive Shakespeare Center, and student-friendly guidance on how to write about the most frequently assigned authors and works of literature.
We will miss Professor Bloom and his guidance, but his spirit of uncompromising passion for literature will continue to inspire us as the Bloom’s Literature database enters its 15th year.